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Worthington homeowners sue contractor over sewage backup

WORTHINGTON — A Worthington couple is suing Duininck Inc. for property damage they say was caused by improperly installed sanitary sewer infrastructure.

In the civil lawsuit filed in Nobles County District Court, Steven and Teresa Johnson say “thousands of gallons” of sewage water backed up into their home in June 2018 due to an open and exposed manhole tube. As a result, their property was damaged, depreciated and destroyed. They seek more than $50,000.

The complaint details the homeowner’s damage was a result of a sanitary sewer extension project from a school district building along North Crailsheim Road into a lift station located on the southeast quadrant of Crailsheim and Fox Farm roads.

The Johnsons claim that Duininck acted negligently and failed to take steps to prevent groundwater from entering the sanitary sewer system by leaving the manhole tube exposed. They say given the climatic conditions, Duininck should have known that groundwater entering the unfinished and exposed manhole would have been introduced into the sanitary sewer system through the lift station.

As a result, 489,840 gallons of sewer water passed through the lift station and backed up into the Johnsons' home, the complaint alleges.

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In its answer filed in court, Duininck denies a majority of the allegations and asks that the case be dismissed. Requests for comment from Duininck and its lawyer were unanswered by Friday afternoon.

The lawsuit initially also included the city of Worthington, which hired Duininck Inc. to complete the project in summer 2018. An order dismissing the city without prejudice was filed and signed this week by attorneys for the Johnsons, Duininck and finally by Fifth Judicial District Judge Darci Bentz.

If an agreement hasn't already been made, a jury trial is tentatively scheduled June 11-12, 2020.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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