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Lawsuit filed against city of Thayer

Thursday, February 13, 2003

THAYER -- A lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $29,000 has been filed against the city of Thayer by a Thayer couple.

Jimmie and Meda Conley, who reside at 438 South Ninth Street in Thayer, allege that on Oct. 21, 2001, employees with the city of Thayer, while conducting repairs and maintenance on a sewer line in their neighborhood, caused damage to their property, caused them to have to live outside their home for a time, and caused unneeded medical expenses.

The Conleys, who are being represented by Jacob Yadon Garrett of West Plains, claim that while city employees were working, a high burst of pressure went through the sewer line forcing raw sewage into their home through the toilet landing on the ceiling, walls, floors, cabinets, appliances, air conditioning system and duct work.

In a recent interview Thayer Mayor Allen Deckard acknowledges that some damage did occur due to negligence of the city. He said as soon as city employees were made aware there was a problem at the Conley home they ceased work. "In the beginning all the Conleys needed were their carpets cleaned at a cost of $3,800 which our insurance company agreed with. They now will not accept that settlement and are asking for much more," the mayor said.

A copy of the lawsuit filed in Oregon County Circuit Court shows that the Conleys are now asking for much more, including $19,773 in repairs.

The couple is also seeking $1,398.68 in living expenses. They claim that while the repairs on their home were being made they were required to spend a period of time living outside their home.

The suit also claims that as a direct result of the negligence of the city, Meda Conley began suffering allergy compilations from the mold and mildew caused by the raw sewage and that she had to undergo substantial medical treatment and through Dec. 10, 2002, incurred medical expenses in the amount of $8,115.25.

The suit claims that Meda Conley experienced severe physical problems from the mold and mildew and raw sewage, resulting in her inability to function properly, requiring that she remove herself from her home for an extended period of time in order to recover. Meda Conley claims in the lawsuit that as a result of negligence of the city she will continue to incur medical problems and complications in the future requiring medical treatment and medications that will cost her out-of-pocket expenses.

The Conley's claim the city was negligent in one or more of the following three manners:

1) The city failed to properly maintain sufficient levels of pressure in the sewage system to prevent "blow out" into surrounding residential homes; 2) The city failed to take proper steps and actions so as to relieve the pressure at various relief points so as to prevent escape of raw sewage; and 3) The city failed to take adequate steps to warn the public sewage overflow.

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