The Surdi family is suing Bellevue, Washington, after a landslide destroyed their home earlier this year.
Five months ago, a landslide happened in the city of Bellevue, Washington that destroyed the home of John Surdi and his family. Since then, the family has been fighting to get answers from the city as to what caused the January 18 landslide. They still don’t have answers, and recently decided to sue the city after learning that a busted water main might have caused the landslide.
Filed earlier this week, the lawsuit accuses the city of negligence, claiming city officials “failed to warn them about aging water pipes and did not mitigate the risk in case the pipe did fail.” Dave Bricklin is the lawyer representing the Surdi family. When commenting on what happened back on January 18, he said:
“From our perspective, it was pretty obvious the morning after what happened…city’s pipe broke, destroyed the Surdis’ home and destroyed their lives.”
The suit notes that the “city-owned the pipe for decades but failed to inspect it, maintain it or buttress it… even though it was on a steep and unstable slope with homes below.” Bricklin added, “The city was just totally asleep at the wheel.”
Since the destruction of their home, the Surdi’s have been tackling one frustration after another. For example, they’re still making a mortgage payment on a home that no longer exists. The Surdi’s said they “just want to move on with their lives and need city officials to take responsibility.” They’re frustrated that it’s been five months and they still don’t have answers or closure.
When asked why he decided to file the lawsuit, Mr. Surdi said, “I just hope that the public maybe lets the city know how they feel about what’s going on.”
In response to the complaint, city officials issued the following written statement:
“First and foremost, we at the City of Bellevue recognize that this has been an incredibly painful process for the Surdi family. We wish them the best as they continue to recover from this terrible and unexpected event. Today’s step by the Surdi’s is not unexpected. A party can file a lawsuit once 60 days have passed after submitting a claim. To date, the city has not taken action to affirm or deny the claim. The slide was a complex incident, and it will take more than a couple of months to determine the cause and any potential liability. The pipe involved in the Jan. 17, 2022 slide event was installed by the owner of the hillside in the early 1970s, not the city. It’s an 8-inch water line that has had no prior history of reported leaks or breakage. The pipe remains buried in the hillside under approximately 10-20 feet of fill and has now been video scoped several times. Based on this initial investigation there appears to have been no catastrophic break of the pipe. The city, along with the legal counsel and consultants for the Surdi’s and Forest Ridge continue to investigate the cause of the slide. We look forward to working with all parties involved to reach an appropriate outcome.”