A Tucson-area couple filed a lawsuit in an Arizona superior court earlier this month, claiming a homebuilding company was negligent in the construction of their residence, which now rests atop a growing pool of sewage. The couple is also suing the town in which they live because it involves a municipal sewer system.
The lawsuit states that when Richmond American Construction built the home in 1999, they failed to install a two-foot section of pipe underground that would have connected the home to the town of Marana's sewer system. Marana is located just outside of Tucson. As a result of the missing section of pipe, raw sewage drained directly into the ground beneath the home.
The couple purchased the home six years ago for more than $200,000. In 2015, they began having plumbing problems when sewage water started leaking around the base of a downstairs toilet. A plumber they hired discovered the missing section of pipe and corrected the problem, a fix that cost the homeowners $7,000.
In a search of county records, it shows an inspector signed off on the pipes in 1995. According to a representative from the county wastewater department, two errors were made when the home was built: Richmond American did not connect the home's plumbing to the sewer line and the municipal inspector who signed off on the permit should not have done so.
Even though the pipes are now connected, there is still an issue of 16 years of sewage build-up under their property. The couple, who live in the home with their two children, said in their lawsuit environmental tests revealed the presence of mold and E. coli.
Signs and symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody; abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness; and nausea and vomiting, in some people. Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing or skin irritation. In people with mold allergies, the reactions can be more severe and include: fever, shortness of breath and chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, and mold infections in their lungs.
“Plaintiff's injuries are ongoing and some are permanent,” according to the lawsuit. All four family members have been ill as a result of the sewage. Health issues include early coronary heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, strep throat, migraines, bronchitis, sinus infections, abdominal pains, nausea, ear infections, pneumonia, and constipation. In addition, family members “continue to suffer residual pain, discomfort, emotional distress and anxiety requiring medical care and treatment and interfering with each family member's work and school.”
The couple said in their lawsuit that the sewage build-up also has affected the resale value of their property.
In the lawsuit, the couple said the town of Marana was negligent in issuing a permit to continue construction of the home even though the pipes were either not inspected at all or not inspected properly.
Richmond American and the town of Marana behaved “wantonly, recklessly and in total reckless and unreasonable disregard for the safety of residential occupants, and acted in such a way so as to unreasonably expose them to probably serious harm,” according to the lawsuit.
If you or a loved has been sickened after living in a toxic home, you may be entitled to compensation, despite the recent Arizona ruling. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.