Couple files lawsuit against city, railway

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com
An Elizabethton couple have filed a lawsuit against the city of Elizabethton and East Tennessee Railway after flooding in July 2001 damaged their property.
Carlos Bradford and his wife, Betty Bradford, both of 2016 Forsythe Drive, filed the lawsuit in Carter County Circuit Court this week. The Bradfords are being represented by attorney Kent W. Garland, of Erwin.
The complaint states the Bradfords' residence sustained flooding damage after heavy rainfall occurred on July 3, 2001 near their residence and that the city and railway failed to keep drainage ditch lines and drain culverts located behind the couple's home clear of debris. The plaintiffs allege that, due to the defendants' inaction, they sustained severe property damage caused by the flooding.
Ruth Bowers of the Elizabethton city attorney's office said the office had not seen the complaint as of Thursday afternoon.
The plaintiffs allege the city and railway should have been aware of the possible problem with the ditch lines. Sewage from the city of Elizabethton contaminated the plaintiffs' property causing the plaintiff, Carlos Bradford, to become ill, according to the complaint.
Telephone calls placed to Garland and the Johnson City office of East Tennessee Railway were not immediately returned.
The complaint further states that "... due to this unabated continuing nuisance since July 3, 2001, another heavy rainfall on Aug. 16 and 17, 2003 caused more damage ..." to the Bradfords' property. The Bradfords have resided at the Forsythe Drive home for more than 20 years.
The lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to clean out the ditch line and drainage tiles to correct the flooding problem. The suit also seeks $50,000 to recover property damages alleged by the plaintiffs.