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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 111657
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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The City of Albion's sewage back up into my family basement

Customer Question

The City of Albion's sewage back up into my family basement leaving us with around 16,000 in damages. They admitted the back-up was on them but denied my claim, we hired and attorney who sent letters and requested info by way of the freedom of information act and said the information he received back was pretty much nothing. He then sent another letter asking them to reconsider our claim and they denied it again saying they are a Gov. agency and they can not be sued. Now the attorney wants thousands to hire an expert, but has no gaurentees. At this point, we have had to borrow money to get the basement back in order and still are not finished. Is there any recourse for us
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
In general, a government entity is not liable for suit unless it was caused by gross negligence and it is called statutory governmental immunity (this goes back all the way to the crown being sovereign in England). See: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%285by20ib0n5japawsumw2ijwb%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-691-1407
Your attorney is on point with an expert who would be needed to show that their failure to maintain the system caused your damages. Failure to properly maintain would be deemed gross negligence. Without proof of gross negligence on their part, the law protects them from suit though.
Also, you need to notify your own homeowner's insurance for coverage if you have not done so already, as they will likely provide coverage here and will go after the city if they believe gross negligence can be proven.
These are really your options though when dealing with a governmental agency.