Property Damage - Flood Damage After Suburb's Stormwater

O'Hare Lake 2200 LLC, O'Hare Lake 2250 LLC, O'Hare Lake 2300-A LLC, O'Hare Lake 2400 LLC v City of Des Plaines 11L-8628 Tried Apr. 14-17, 2014
Verdict:  $1,159,109 on Count I for indemnification ($131,502 to O'Hare Lake 2200 LLC; $272,215 to O'Hare Lake 2250 LLC; $682,933 to O'Hare Lake 2300-A LLC; $72,459 to O'Hare Lake 2400 LLC), plus pre-judgment interest and attorneys' fees and costs to be determined; Not Guilty on Count II for specific performance. Special Interrogatories: Did O'Hare Lake prove they performed their obligations under the contract? "No." Did O'Hare Lake prove they had a valid excuse for not performing the contract? "Yes." Did O'Hare Lake prove City of Des Plaines was required to reimburse O'Hare Lake for the damages and losses they have incurred as a result of the flooding of Lake Peterson onto O'Hare Lake's property on July 23, 2011? "Yes." Did O'Hare Lake prove City of Des Plaines materially breached the contract by failing to reimburse O'Hare Lake for the damages and losses they have incurred as a result of the flooding of Lake Peterson onto O'Hare Lake's property on July 23, 2011? "Yes." Did O'Hare Lake prove they sustained damages resulting from the City of Des Plaines' breach? "Yes." Did O'Hare Lake present evidence from which you can determine the fair and reasonable value of the loss? "Yes." Once the flood occurred, could O'Hare Lake have avoided losing some of its money with reasonable effort and ordinary care? "No." Did O'Hare Lake prove City of Des Plaines was required to install pumps that complied with the specifications expressly set forth in the Easement & Stormwater Management Agreement? "Yes." Did O'Hare Lake prove City of Des Plaines materially breached the contract by failing to install pumps that complied with the specifications set forth in the Easement & Stormwater Management Agreement? "No."
Judge:  Thomas R. Mulroy, Jr. (IL Cook-Law)
Pltf Atty(s):  Richard M. Hoffman and Matthew E. Szwajkowski of Cohen, Salk & Huvard (Northbrook) for all pltfs
Deft Atty(s):  Gregory S. Mathews and Elizabeth K. Barton of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer (MICA) OFFER: $1,000,000
Pltf Expert(s):  Howard Hamilton of Robert E. Hamilton Consulting Engineers, 3230 Executive Drive, Joliet, IL (815-730-3444) (Civil Engineer) and Eugene Peterson of Advise & Consult Inc., P.O. Box 648, Riverton, UT (888-684-8305) (Construction) for all pltfs
Deft Expert(s):  Martin W. Terpstra (Accountant/CPA)
 
July 23, 2011, pltfs sustained significant flood damage to their four Des Plaines office buildings near O'Hare Airport during a severe rain storm. The buildings were subject to a 1990 Easement & Stormwater Management Agreement with the City of Des Plaines, which allowed the City to use a lake at the center of the office park for stormwater management but required the City to indemnify property owners for losses resulting from the easement, and pltfs inherited this agreement when they acquired the buildings in 2003. The storm dropped seven inches of rain on July 23, 2011, flooding many areas in Des Plaines. During the storm, City-installed stormwater removal pumps at the site failed, causing the lake to overflow its banks and flood the adjacent buildings, causing pltfs to sustain a combined $1,204,109 in property damage, cleanup and remediation costs. Pltfs sought reimbursement for their damages pursuant to the Agreement, and also sought an order compelling the City to install new pumps which meet the technical specifications set forth in the Agreement. The defense denied any breach of contract and contended pltfs failed to perform their obligations under the contract - which stated (1) pltfs had the responsibility to operate and maintain the pumping station and generator building (which housed the pumps) in good working order, and (2) pltfs had sole discretion to control the amount of water entering the lake and to adjust the lake level. The defense further claimed pltfs failed to prove the fair market value of their property at the time of the flood, pltfs failed to establish that they were entitled to full replacement costs under the contract, and there was no evidence that the pumps did not meet contract specifications. The jury deliberated five hours, finding in favor of pltfs on their claim for damages but finding in favor of the City regarding the pump specifications.
 
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