Posted: Nov 5, 2012 9:35 PM by Mike Manzoni -- email@example.com
Updated: Nov 6, 2012 4:23 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- A woman says a broken city water pipe in her backyard caused her patio to split down the middle after water saturated the ground and sunk part of the yard. But she said the city will not pay for the damage.
"All I want them [the City] to do is to repair my patio; I mean that's all," said Estela, whose last name we agreed to withhold because she fears retaliation from the City.
For about two years, she said her backyard has been slowly sinking. Recently, she said she found out that a leaking water pipe was causing the issue. The city fixed the problem a couple weeks ago, but it was too late to spare her patio.
"My yard wasn't like this when I purchases my house," she said. "There wasn't a sunken area right there."
Estela said the city sent her a letter and a copy of the Texas Tort Claims Act to prove they were not liable for the damage, but she said the law reads just the opposite.
According to the law, if a "...proprietary function is involved and liability is established, there is no limit on the amount of damages that may be awarded." It also reads: "The proprietary function listed in the statute include the operation and maintenance of a public utility."
But Donna James-Spruce, the city's risk manager, said water pipe is not considered a proprietary function even though it is a public utility. "Governmental entities such as school districts, counties and cities are not liable for anything other than the negligent use of motor driven vehicles."
Estela, who said it would cost about $7,500 to fix the damages, is considering contacting an attorney.
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