Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against MIDD
Effort to Recoup Expenses From 2016-17 Sinkhole Continues
An Oakland County judge has dismissed claims made by Oakland County against a Macomb County sewer district stemming from the 2016-17 sewer line collapse and sinkhole in Fraser. The ruling bolsters the Macomb County Public Works Office’s ongoing effort to recover the $75 million cost to repair the sinkhole
Earlier this year, the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District, OMID, filed suit against the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District, MIDD, claiming that OMID was the aggrieved party following the sewer collapse on 15 Mile Road on pipe owned and operated by MIDD. On Friday, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews issued a ruling dismissing all claims made by OMID against MIDD.
“We tried to talk OMID out of it, but they would not be dissuaded. This was a very expensive, unnecessary exercise,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller. “Now that it has been dismissed, we can put all of our focus on negotiations with the insurance carrier, so we can recoup our expenses in the costly repair of the 15 Mile Road interceptor.”
The OMID is overseen by a board made up of Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture representative Mike Greg and Miller. Greg and Nash voted in favor of bringing the suit against MIDD over objections from Miller.
“They filed this suit solely to obstruct and interfere with MIDD’s effort seeking an insurance recovery related to water hammers caused by an OMID construction project. That effort has now failed. All we have ever been seeking is payment for our loss in the 15 Mile Road collapse,” Miller said. “They said OMID filed suit to protect the ratepayers, but Macomb County makes up 60 percent of the OMID. I don’t think suing yourself is a very good strategy.”
MIDD will continue its legal efforts to recover expenses incurred from the Dec. 24, 2016, collapse of the sewer interceptor pipe under 15 Mile Road.
Miller commended the work done on this case by the MCPWO’s counsel, Joe Viviano and Ben Aloia.
“I have a high degree of confidence in the understanding of the law, including the Michigan Drain Code, shown by Mr. Viviano and Mr. Aloia. It is a confidence that does not extend to the counsel that the OMID board insists on keeping,” Miller said.