Friday, March 17, 2006

Jury finds city not liable for damage to old Tucson adobes

[Source: Arizona Daily Star] -- A Pima County Superior Court jury has found the city was not responsible for damage to more than a dozen 19th-century and early 20th-century adobe buildings owned by the Rollings family, which has been recognized by both the city and the state for its historic preservation efforts. The suit, filed in 2002, complained many of the family's properties in Barrio Viejo, south of the Tucson Community Center, were damaged by water leaking from city water lines as a result of inadequate city maintenance. Water from the lines migrated to their properties and buckled the building foundations and destroyed the adobe and rock walls, the suit contends. Plaintiffs Kelley, Donald, Sally, Betsy, and Brad Rollings and Ann Shiff, all members of the family, alleged the city failed to repair damaged water lines even though city officials knew the water was damaging the historic buildings.

City officials acknowledged when the suit was filed the ground in the area had an above average amount of moisture. But they said pressure checks and other tests indicated no leaks in their lines, so the water must have come from another source. According to court documents, the jury found in favor of the city on Friday, after 12 days of testimony and less than four hours of deliberations. The nine jurors found the city wasn't negligent, nor was it guilty of trespassing or being a nuisance. [Photo source: Anne Weeks]