Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
About 100 people came to the Slovak Legion Thursday evening to learn more about a possible class action lawsuit against the City of Thunder Bay.
Shawn Wright’s insurance will only cover 75 per cent of the flood damages done to his Hargrave Street home.
“I’m losing 25 per cent plus lost wages, etcetera, etcetera. It’s hard to live from that right now,” he said.
Wright was one of about 100 people at the Slovak Legion Thursday night learning more about a class action lawsuit a local law firm plans to file against the City of Thunder Bay for what it alleges is negligence in allowing the Atlantic Avenue Sewage Treatment Plant to flood.
“We’re definitely going to be in on this class action lawsuit to claim that other 25 per cent and our $1,000 deductible,” said Wright, adding the city should have planned for possible flooding when they built the plant.
“The whole street is not very happy with the city at all. There was zero action right off the hop from the city,” Wright added.
He estimates his family has lost $15,000 worth of property and the construction damage to his home is estimated to be another $15,000.
But Wright still considers himself lucky compared to some of his neighbours.
Fortunately, he’s still able to live in his house.
Amy McCormack hasn’t been able to live in her house on McLeod Street since the flooding.
“I lost everything. My house is unsuitable to live in right now,” she said.
McCormack said she lost all her personal belongings and her basement has to be gutted.
She signed onto the lawsuit because she believes the city didn’t take the proper precautions at the treatment plant and it has left people homeless.
“Luckily, I have family. A lot of people don’t,” she said.
Monique Young attended Thursday’s meeting to learn about the lawsuit and said she was just exhausting her options.
“I’m just here inquiring, trying to figure out what I can do for having no insurance,” she said.
Young had to gut her basement, which she said was fully furnished and carpeted.
“I’m sure everyone is going through the same thing,” she said.
Although Young said she thinks the response from the city has been wonderful, she believes it is their fault the plant flooded.
Lawyer Alexander Zaitzeff, with Watkins Law Professional Corporation, estimated about 100 people have signed onto the suit and people have told him they are unhappy with the city’s response to the flooding.
“They feel the disaster relief fund is too little, too late. It should be five times that amount as a starter for all of the people,” he said. “There are people whose very lives are so disrupted, they can become bankrupt.”
“The city should put up the money right now to help these people,” Zaitzeff said.
At the meeting, Zaitzeff also said his firm would not collect any fees from any of the plaintiffs unless they won the case.
“I believe this case is winnable and yes, I’ve sued the city before and won,” he said. “We’re not afraid of big institutions.”
Although he expects damages to vary, Zaitzeff said he would be surprised if the total was less than $50 million.
Many people have criticized the lawsuit, many saying it is too soon to consider suing the city. Zaitzeff said there is no reason to wait.
“Do you want to wait and drag it out and hope the city is going to pay you? We all know they’re not,” he said.