A property damages lawsuit filed by a City Council member and his spouse against the City of Anacortes goes before the state Court of Appeals Division I on Sept. 17.
Councilman Anthony Young and Dr. Joseph Mulcahy sued the city and a neighboring couple in 2018, alleging grading and filling performed by the neighbors on an adjacent lot and on city owned right-of-way — an unopened portion of E Avenue — between their properties caused an increase in stormwater flow onto Young and Mulcahy’s property, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to their home.
Young and Mulcahy allege the city planning department allowed the grading, filling and use of public right of way to be done without permits, and therefore the city is responsible for the damages. Skagit County Superior Court Judge David Needy dismissed the lawsuit against the city in May 2019, ruling that a governmental entity is liable for damages only if it knew or should have known that its acts were unlawful. Young and Mulcahy ask the appeals court to remand the lawsuit to Skagit County Superior Court.
Young and Mulcahy and their neighbors, Todd and Erinn Welliver, settled last year. Terms were not disclosed.
Young and Mulcahy say the planning department did know that the grading, filling and use of public right of way were taking place without permits and failed to enforce permit regulations, and that the department was aware of the resulting damage.
Young said he and Mulcahy have paid to have a sump pump installed, trenches dug and graveled, and 24 jacks placed under their home for structural support. Young said the sump pump has pumped up to five gallons within in a four-minute period. The work and legal fees have cost them more than $100,000, he said.
“Good people make a mistake. I get that,” Young said of the city. “But what do you do? You fix it. They haven’t done that.”