Roofing contractor sues City of Elizabethton, others

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   An Elizabethton roofing contractor filed suit Friday in Carter County Circuit Court seeking more than $11,000 in damages from the City of Elizabethton and two businesses hired to do work for the city following a flooding incident July 3, 2001.
   The lawsuit filed by Elizabethton Attorney Lanny Norris on behalf of Floyd Storie, president of Floyd Storie Roofing Contractor Inc., contends that in autumn 1999, the city was contemplating purchasing property formerly owned by Elizabethton Herb & Metal and located on the west side of Storie's business at 518 Hattie Ave.
   As a precondition to purchasing the land, the city required an environmental survey and report concerning the property, according to the lawsuit, and hired Tysinger Hampton & Partners Inc., 3428 Bristol Hwy., Johnson City, which took core samples and performed other related work.
   Shortly after purchasing the property, the city hired Appalachian Landscaping Inc., 289 Coal Chute Road, to trim and remove brush and do landscaping work.
   Storie contends that when the city bought the land there was a drainage culvert on the southerly portion of the property designed to capture rainwater and carry it to the stormwater drainage system. Having inspected the property, the city should have known about the existence of the culvert, Storie claims.
   Prior to July 3, a large steel plate was "negligently placed" over the culvert's opening and never removed, thus blocking the flow of water into the drainage culvert, according to the suit.
   Following a heavy downpour July 3, rainwater which normally would have been carried away from Storie's property through the culvert, instead began to accumulate and was channeled down onto his property. Storie claims that water approximately 24 inches deep coursed through his building, damaging $8,000 in personal property stored in a warehouse, and resulted in $3,012.50 in cleanup and restoration costs.
   The suit contends that the defendants were negligent in placing and failing to remove the steel plate from the culvert after work was completed, and that they are jointly and severally responsible.
   Storie is seeking $11,012.50 in damages and asks that legal costs be taxed to the defendants.