5 Valley View residents sue city over landslides
EVERETT - Five Valley View Neighborhood residents who lost their backyards and, in some cases, their homes to landslides hit the city with a negligence lawsuit last week.
The lawsuit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court does not outline a dollar amount for damages, instead asking for damages to be determined in the trial.
Residents accuse the city of negligently building a 2004 storm water pipe enlargement without considering the downstream effects on the creek running below their homes. The homeowners say the bigger pipe lets too much storm water rush through the creek during heavy rainstorms, creating a deep-seated landslide scenario.
The city repeatedly has said it’s not at fault for the damage and on Nov. 27 emphasized its position in a presentation to the Everett City Council. The city denies this is a deep-seated landslide.
The city says the homes were built on unstable ground, something historical permit documents appear to support. Geotechnical reports from the 1990s show landslides happened well before the pipe enlargement was built.
Homeowner Jay Himmelman said last week other affected residents may join the lawsuit.
During this past fall, eight homeowners filed damage claims with the city totaling $6 million. The largest claim is for $2.3 million from a homeowner who saw his house destroyed by a 2011 slide.
The homeowners are represented by David Bricklin of the Seattle environmental law firm Bricklin Newman.
In a separate 2013 case not against the city, three geotechnical engineers stated that the Valley View slides are from unnatural causes.
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