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Lawsuit between Grand Rapids and Plaza Towers over flood

A lawsuit has recently been brought against the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on behalf of Plaza Towers, a development of high-rise apartments that is located in the downtown area, near the Grand River. The lawsuit stems from the fact that the towers flooded in the spring of 2013. They had to be shut down for a time, starting in April and ending in May.

The owners have said that the fault lies with the city since they were told that they needed to stop removing the water in the basement via a pump system. They claim that the city told them that this was putting too much strain on a 17-foot by 12-foot by sewer line running below the foundation of the towers.

The city countered this claim in two ways. First, they said that their directive to the owners of the apartments was not an order, but a recommendation. The city did want to cut back on the sheer amount of runoff that was being pumped into the sewer and drainage system.

The second counter, however, is that the company cannot even start any business litigation due to the fact that they signed a contract back in 1989, when the towers were being constructed. The attorneys have said that this contract gives the city itself protection by absolving it of any responsibility for problems that can be linked to that sewer line.

When business owners in Michigan sign building contracts, it is critical that they understand how those contracts may alter their rights to future litigation. If they feel that their lawsuits are being unfairly dismissed, they may also want to know about what rights they have to appeal the dismissal.

Source: Source: Mlive, "1989 development contract bars Plaza Towers flooding lawsuit, city claims," Garret Ellison, July 9, 2014

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