Glendale couple says plugged city sewer damaged their home

While Benjamin Louie was sleeping, liquid from an allegedly clogged city sewer line flooded the majority of his northeast Glendale home’s first floor, basement and stairway.

It was 1 a.m. on May 7 when Louie, 78, and his wife Irene, 77, discovered the backup in “full assault,” according to a claim the couple filed with the city. But it would be nearly a week before they discovered that the damage to their home would cost them $44,053.92.

The City Council discussed the claim behind closed doors Tuesday. City Atty. Mike Garcia said he couldn’t comment on the May 22 claim for damages because the city anticipated litigation.

After the Louies discovered the water damage, they paid a plumber $250 to run a cable to clear a plugged city sewer line and $5,240 to a clean-up and restoration crew to extract water from their floors, tear out wet, non-salvageable carpets and wood floors, haul away debris, run dehumidifiers for days, and do other restoration work, according to bills they submitted to the city. 

Their home in the 1400 block of Imperial Drive was a shambles, the Louies said. Black bags and brown boxes were strewn about their living room, and some belongings — from electronic equipment to light bulbs — dotted their front lawn, as shown in pictures included in their claim.

A general contractor on May 16 estimated in a 15-page report that it would cost $32,072.76 to fix their flooring and cabinets and complete other repair work.

On top of those damages, the couple wants the city to pay for thousands of dollars worth of lost apparel, kitchen equipment and decorations, and nearly $1,800 for a six-night stay at the Hilton Glendale in June, according to the claim. 

There’s also the red Chinese area rug, worth roughly $1,600, that has to be replaced, the $184 Chinese silk art, the $447 worth of men’s and women’s shoes, and more than a dozen other items that racked their damage total up to $44,053.92. 

Reached by phone this week, Irene Louie said she didn’t want to comment on the claim because “there may be attorneys involved.”

In May, Glendale’s sewer system won “Collection System of the Year,” an annual award given by the California Water Environment Assn. to one system in three size categories that demonstrates excellence in operations, maintenance, training and environmental compliance, according to a city report. 


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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