Berkley City Council Authorizes Proposed Flood Settlement Agreement
Media contacts: Torri Mathes, City of Berkley; 248-658-3333; firstname.lastname@example.org
Berkley, MI – December 21, 2020 – At the December 21, 2020, Berkley council meeting, City Council authorized the proposed negotiated settlement of the longstanding class-action lawsuits pending against the City of Berkley, Oakland County, and nine other southeast Oakland County municipalities covering thousands of claims made by homeowners for basement flooding and property damage stemming from historic rain and flood events that occurred in August 2014 and August 2017. The cases against the City of Berkley are:
- Deanna Doot et al. v City of Berkley et al. (Doot)
- Hanover Insurance Company v City of Berkley, et al. (Hanover)
- Sheila Jacob v City of Berkley (Jacob)
The money damages demanded from the City of Berkley alone exceeded $22 million dollars. But, after extensive litigation, a unified defense approach and negotiations by the county and municipal co-defendants with the claimants’ legal representatives has resulted in a tentative global settlement agreement, covering all the cases and claims against all county and municipal co-defendants, in the amount of $11.5 million, plus $1.5 million in future sewer system improvements.
The City of Berkley’s portion of the $11.5 global settlement obligation will be about $385,308, and Berkley will commit to making $196,070 of future improvements to the City’s sewer system.
The next steps will be to await the consideration and decisions of the other co-defendant municipal and county agencies, and the Circuit Court’s preliminary approval of the settlement.
What Has the City Done Since the Rain Event?
- The City proactively maintains its sewer system, investing up to $350,000 per year on sewer structural lining, and the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) regularly cleans, inspects, and monitors sewer line conditions to ensure optimal functionality. To date, the lining has been completed annually for over 20 years with approximately 35% of the system structurally lined.
- Approximately 350 restrictor covers have been installed in many of the City's catch basins (not including those installed prior to 2014) to regulate the amount of storm water flow entering the sewer system.
- DPW staff is able to systematically inspect all of the public sewer lines over a 3-year cycle. The cleaning process uses high-pressure water inside the pipes to remove any sediment or debris.
- The City invested $670,000 in grant funds to clean and assess the entire sewer system. This also allows the City to proactively identify areas for future lining or pipe replacement, as well as to document conditions and maintenance practices.
- There are 50 miles of sewer lines in Berkley. The annual sewer lining program is an important component of the City’s preventive maintenance process. To date, approximately 16 miles of sewer pipes have been structurally lined. This can add up to 100 years to the useful life of the pipe.
- The City also conducted a sewer system capacity analysis which has assisted the City by providing a framework for planning and making decisions for future capital improvements. That capacity analysis can be found here.
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