By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - Mary Jo Hall says she has been struggling with flooding at her 17th Street home for more than 20 years.
"In 1990 there was an extensive rain overnight. We have a two story house so our bedrooms are upstairs. We came downstairs the next morning to find water from the garage to over half way through the house," Hall says.
Hall says new drainage was put in in 1991, but her house was flooded again in 2005. And she says the city is responsible.
"The flooding is the result of the storm drains on the street not being sufficient enough to carry the water off when we have a heavy storm," Hall says.
By 2006 Hall says she and her husband at the time, Recorder's Court Judge Michael Cielinksi, had had enough.
"It took time away from the job I had at the time as a teacher, disrupting the routines of my children who were very young at the time, time I took talking to the city manager and the mayor, yes it has been stressful," Hall says.
And not to mention the mountain of bills associated with home repairs.
"We have had to completely re-do the kitchen, completely re-do carpeting twice now because of the flooding," Hall says.
Hall filed a lawsuit against the city in 2006. Yesterday a Georgia Appeals Court reversed a breach of contract claim but did affirm the Cielinski's case against the city, agreeing the city was at fault for continued nuisance and a jury trial is necessary.
"I have a feeling this was a good thing for me. It says I am entitled to proceed with my suit," Hall says.
NBC 38 spoke to City Attorney Clifton Fay on the phone and he tells us the city plans to file an application to bring the case to the Georgia Supreme Court. He says there they will ask the judge to dismiss the case and change the continued nuisance to permanent nuisance. He says that's because permanent nuisance has a statute of limitations and that means this case could no longer go forward.
"The city will go forward and fight it. They are going to continue to cost the tax payers money because that's who is paying the attorneys the city is hiring," Hall says.
Hall says after more than five years of litigation she is happy to see things moving forward. "I feel as a tax payer and as a former employee of the school system I shouldn't have to live like this, I shouldn't have a house I can no longer sell."
The Barngrover family in Midtown is also going through a similar ordeal with the city. After the family won a judgement in their favor over drainage and sewage the city has yet to comply. Barngrover has taken his case all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court where a decision is expected any day.
WLTZ NBC 38
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