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Amsterdam couple sues city, company

Saturday, November 30, 2013 - Updated: 7:38 AM


An Amsterdam couple is suing the city and an area construction company after a project to their sewer system exploded and leaked into their home.

According to a complaint filed at the Montgomery County Clerk's Office late last month, Luke and Nicole Sheldon are seeking restitution in the amount of $21,000. Their claims stem from damage caused by the sewage and wastewater lines that discharged in their home a year ago.

The Sheldons contacted the city, who operates the municipal sewage disposal system, last year to repair the wastewater lines under Orange Street, where the couple and their three young daughters live. The job, the complaint states, was done by TKC Construction Co. NY, of Gansevoort, and was conducted in a "negligent and incompetent manner."

The papers further explained the defendants failed to provide adequate piping to carry the sewage from the Sheldons' home, "negligently maintaining" the sewer in the first place, and after they were alerted to the problem, they failed to timely remove the obstruction to prevent further damage.

Mid-September into early October, sewage began "backing up and discharging" through the basement drain and toilet in the bathroom of the Sheldons' home. During this time, the Sheldons contacted Mayor Ann Thane, the construction company, and the city engineer.

The documents says Thane said the matter would be "immediately looked into" and the foreman on the job told the family it "would be resolved."

"The plaintiffs made repeated calls to the defendant and were repeatedly assured that the matter would be immediately taken care of," the papers say.

When they saw no results after a month, a notice of claim was served to the city who the reports states refused to pay the family.

As they waited, the raw sewage covered the floors of the Sheldons' home and filled the basement of the house. Numerous personal belongings stored in the basement have been damaged "beyond repair." Though the Sheldons said they did everything they could to limit the damage, it became uncontrollable and sewage levels surfaced to the first floor of their home. The property damage totals $21,000, court papers say.

The damages, which were the "direct and proximate result of acts and omissions of negligence of defendant," also extend to the well-being of Luke and Nicole Sheldon and also their infant daughters Serenity, Kelly and Lilliana.

The document states the entire family sought and obtained medical treatment and will have to continue to do so in the future. They have been "internally, externally and emotionally" damaged and "have been unable to perform their normal activities for a considerable period of time."

Because of that, each have been "injured, bruised and wounded," the complaint states and the family has been deprived of "consortium, loved, aid and affection" in both their marital and parent-child relationships. They believe that behavior will continue.

TKC Construction Co. NY, city attorney Gerard DeCusatis, and DeLorenzo Law Firm, LLP did not return requests for comment.

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