Can I sue the city for letting a private contractor it hired to dig up the sewer line that goes from my house to the street, if they literally tore up my front yard?

UPDATED: Jun 26, 2012

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Can I sue the city for letting a private contractor it hired to dig up the sewer line that goes from my house to the street, if they literally tore up my front yard?

They dug up ad threw away scrubs Y plants that I planted over 10 years ago, without given me any notice verbal or written. I am a taxpayer in town for 3 properties; this 1 is one of my rental properties. They know how to reach me when the taxes are due. Also, there has been a for rent sign in the yard with a posted phone number, to reach me, for the lat 3 moths. I was notified this past Friday by the contractor “after the fact” , he called the sign number and I got to go see the damages,after the fact. Isn’t there a trespassing law or property code law the city violated (especially, doing this to my home without notifying me)?

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The first thing you need to look at is the deed to your proeprty to see if there is an easement on behalf of the city to have done what it did through the contractor that you have written about. even if the easement allows what was done as far as the digging up, the holder of the easement has the duty to not damage the area of the easement unnecessarily and if damages are caused, to make necessary repairs or payment.

From what you have written, I would make a claim to the city that allowed the contractor onto your property under your state's governmental tort claims act as a condition for filing suit against it and also file a suit against the contractor that caused the damages that you claim. You need to be prepared to prove what your damages are in terms of dollars and cents and to have invoices, statements and receipts showing such in addition to photographs.

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