City, state settle lawsuits over floods
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | May 08,2014
The city will pay out $250,000 to settle a pair of lawsuits stemming from the flooding in 2008 and again in 2009.
The Board of Aldermen voted several weeks ago to settle with the owners of Three Tomatoes Trattoria for $30,000 and a group of plaintiffs connected to downtown office buildings for $220,000 following a mediation session, but details of the settlement were only recently made public.
The state of Vermont, one of several co-defendants, also settled, agreeing to pay $20,000 to the restaurant and $115,000 for the other set of plaintiffs, which was made up of O.R. Parker, LLC; Hulett Realty, Inc.; John A. Russell Jr.; Sam Frank Inc. and Mead Building Inc.
“We consider it a fair and good resolution to that case,” said Assistant Attorney General Micaela Tucker, who represented the state. “It avoids the cost of continuing litigation.”
Neither of the plaintiffs’ lawyers immediately returned calls seeking comment Wednesday. Attorney Joseph Farnham, who represented the city through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, declined to comment as the case was continuing with remaining defendants Marble Valley Regional Transit District and DuBois and King.
City Attorney Charles Romeo would only say that the bulk of the settlement would be paid by the city’s insurance policy through the VLCT and that only a $500 deductible would come out of city coffers.
Three Tomatoes Trattoria owners Robert Myers, Allen Frey and James Remain filed their lawsuit in 2010. O.R. Parker, et al, were included among the defendants, but soon brought their own lawsuit against their fellow co-defendants. The status of the remaining parties was not immediately clear from court documents released Wednesday, but all claims against the city and state were dropped.
The lawsuit blamed the city for a storm drainage system that failed to cope with the sudden downpours that flooded downtown businesses in 2008 and again in 2009 and alleged that the transit center funneled water from West Street into the basements on that block.
The restaurant suffered losses that left it closed for several days.