Lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff.
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A $300 million statement of claim was filed against the City of Thunder Bay Thursday.
Watkins Law filed the class-action lawsuit alleging the city was negligent in allowing the Atlantic Avenue sewage treatment plant to flood on May 28. The suit has six representative plaintiffs with another 200 ready to sign on once the class-action is certified, said lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff.
“There are very serious allegations of negligence contained within the statement of claim as it is our belief that the city was completely and totally unprepared and that is not what a responsible city would do,” he said.
“This was preventable by foresight and it was all predictable,” he added.
The suit is claiming $200 million in general damages, $100 million in special damages and $20 million for the Family Law Act, which Zaitzeff said includes the extended family of the injured party.
The 30-page claim details allegations against the city, which Zaitzeff said includes the city’s failure to foresee the devastation of the May 28 storm that saw about 3,000 homes incur flood damage.
“The city failed to properly track the storm. They knew full well a storm was coming. They did nothing,” he said.
The claim also alleges the city is under a gag order from their insurers. Zaitzeff said the insurers would have been on site at the treatment plant on May 28 and every day after until they knew exactly what caused the plant to flood.
“They have (the cause) without question now,” he said.
“They are not putting it out there. They have firstly, and most importantly, a moral obligation to every citizen in this city to let them know that the city has corrected all of the deficiencies, all of the failures in maintenance and has a disaster plan in place.”
Zaitzeff also said he believes the city’s staff and administration are good, honest people.
“We are not suggesting for a second that anyone at the city is dishonest or lazy,” he said. “But they made mistakes. They failed. Good people can make mistakes.”
If successful in court, Zaitzeff and his firm will receive 33.3 per cent of the settlement. Zaitzeff said they will give five per cent of that to whatever charity is helping the most needy flood victims at the time.
City officials have declined to comment.
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