Insurance Company: City Not Covered in $300K Sewer Lawsuit

A failed pump station is to blame, but Bluff City may be at fault for private property damages caused by sewer overflows.
Insurance Company: City Not Covered in $300K Sewer Lawsuit

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If Bluff City, Tennessee, loses the $300,000 lawsuit filed against it by a family that claims property damage due to sewer overflows, it will not be covered by the city’s insurance company, the Bristol Herald Courier reports.

“The policy provided by The Pool (the city's insurance company) specifically excludes coverage for any claim involving claims arising out of the actual, alleged or threatened discharge of pollutants,” a letter from the company to the mayor says.

Tommy, Mary and Robin Moore filed the lawsuit earlier this year for damages to their property from multiple sewer overflows. According to the lawsuit, the property has zero fair market value now.

“The plaintiffs allege that they began to have problems with sewage overflow caused by a failed pump station,” the letter says. “The pump failed on multiple occasions and plaintiffs allege that they were inundated with raw sewage to the point some of the sewage made its way to Boone Lake. This does not fit the definition of sudden occurrence which is required to trigger coverage under the limited liability pollution definition.”

Per the report, filing a limited liability pollution claim only covers “sudden occurrences,” which are accidentally discharged, dispersed, released or escaped pollutants that occur above ground and are not within or on the surface of any waterway. It also states that claims will be covered when damages are from the accidental rupture, backup or overflow of the municipality’s sanitary sewer, storm sewer or water supply system.

“The plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the city refused to address the overflow of sewage onto their property,” the letter says. “This has not been proven, but if proven, it would be deemed an intentional act or an act where the outcome of that act, or failure to act, was known or expected.”

City officials were unavailable for comment. The newspaper reports that work to repair two inefficient pump stations began on June 20 and is expected to be operational by the end of the year. The repair is part of a $3.6 million project to repair water and wastewater infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding $3.4 million of that project.

Source: Bristol Herald Courier


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