Park Place Homeowner Sues Town, Citing Failed Stormwater Drainage System


57 and 59 Park Place in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

The owners of a Park Place home this week sued the town, saying failure to maintain a stormwater drainage system resulted in extensive property damage following heavy rains last summer.

According to a complaint filed in state Superior Court on behalf of the owners of 57 and 59 Park Place, the town knew from a prior rain event that the system had problems, “including the insufficient size of the drainage pipe and the need to keep it free from obstructions.” 

Even so, those deficiencies weren’t fixed, and so during a heavy rainstorm on June 28, 2018, “the stormwater drainage system again failed and backed up, resulting in flooding and causing substantial damage to the plaintiffs’ home, belongings, and property,” according to the complaint, filed on behalf of the homeowners by attorney Matthew Mason of Wilton-based Gregory and Adams PC and received Tuesday by the Town Clerk’s office.

“As a result of the above referenced conduct, the plaintiffs live in constant fear that the stormwater drainage system will fail and their property, home and belongings will be damaged,” the lawsuit said. “Plaintiffs have had to spend considerable sums of money to install sumps with flood control alarmed pumps and take other steps to try and protect their property from the inevitable harm they will suffer due to the inadequate stormwater management system.”

The homeowners, Scott and Veronica Ready, are suing for trespass (“as it is an invasion, intrusion and entry by the defendant affecting plaintiffs’ exclusive possessory interest”), private nuisance, breach of right-of-way agreement and negligence. They’re seeking monetary damages, costs and attorney’s fees, as well as “such other and further relief as the court may deem appropriate,” according to the complaint. 

The stormwater drainage system went in around 1950, the lawsuit said, and a prior owner of the Park Place property granted the town a right-of-way for it, under an agreement that specified New Canaan “will use due care in constructing and maintaining” it. Yet in the decades since then, the umber of properties served by the system “has materially increased” and New Canaan has “approved development of a large number of properties in the areas served by the stormwater drainage system, resulting in substantial increase in the impervious surfaces draining water into the stormwater drainage system,” Mason said in the complaint. 

It failed during a rainstorm in October 2007, backing up so that two or more feet of water came into parts of the plaintiffs’ home, “causing extensive damage.”

“Many other properties served by the stormwater drainage system sustained damage including abnormal yard flooding, basement flooding and other damage to personal property and homes,” the complaint said. The plaintiffs and others filed claims against the town, putting it on formal notice of “the considerable risk of damage to homes and property of residents” served by the system.

New Canaan failed to ensure that it was “reasonably free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation, sediment, and other obstacles that would retard the flow of water through the system, notwithstanding being on notice of the need to address such problems.”

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