Can my business sue the local government for damages?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2019 | Business Law | 0 comments

If your Illinois business suffers costly damages that could have been prevented, it may sue another company, its customers or even the government for reimbursement. As reported by the Rockford Register Star, a complaint filed against the city of Rockford by Mercyhealth Hospital sought relief for $30 million in damages caused by a catastrophic flood that forced the hospital to temporarily relocate its pharmacy.

After a massive rainstorm, the city’s storm sewage system caused water to flood the basement of Mercyhealth’s Rockton Avenue campus. The hospital’s insurance provider, Federal Insurance Co., filed a lawsuit against Rockford seeking $24.2 million that it paid to the hospital to cover the damages. The insurance company’s complaint alleges that it was the city’s fault for the hospital having experienced catastrophic and significant damage. The suit claimed Rockford should have prevented water from the city’s storm sewer system from backing up into the hospital by properly inspecting, maintaining and cleaning the system. The complaint accuses the city of failing to install the system correctly, and because of its negligence, the insurance company seeks compensation.

Mercyhealth filed a separate lawsuit against Rockford one year after the flooding. The complaint states that the city is intentionally violating its own ordinances by failing to expand its stormwater pipe which runs through the hospital. It also accuses the city of failing to comply with the guidelines of the Illinois Department of Transportation, which requires a stormwater pipe that can handle a 10-year flooding event. The lawsuit seeks a court order to force the city to improve its surrounding infrastructure and stormwater sewage system to prevent flooding in the future. While a government may provide a strong argument in its defense, if the damage is directly caused by its negligence, the city may be held liable and be required to provide compensation to the hospital.

This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.