The mother of an adult woman who is bedridden due to cerebral palsy has filed a property damage lawsuit against telecommunications giant Verizon claiming a 13-year installation project at a property adjacent to the plaintiff’s daughter’s house has caused the woman’s home to shift and sink.

Philadelphia lawyer Simon Rosen filed the civil complaint May 15 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Shirley Watson, a Philadelphia woman who is suing in her capacity as legal guardian of her ailing adult daughter, Lisa Watson.

The complaint alleges that the defendant, New York-based Verizon Communications Inc., has caused severe damage to Lisa Watson’s Newkirk Street home following an ongoing project that began in 1999 when Verizon was doing business as Bell Atlantic Corporation.

The work involved installing new cables and wires in the ground next to the plaintiff’s property, located on the 3200 block of Newkirk Street.

In order to lay the new cables and wires, workers had to dig up the area adjacent to Watson’s property, an invasive procedure that, as of late last year, caused Watson’s home to start to shift and sink, the lawsuit claims.

From Nov. 1, 2011 through present day, the condition of the premises has worsened, the lawsuit claims, as the house is now sinking, tilting and is “presumably soon to be uninhabitable.”

Problems began with a hole that appeared in a basement wall in the plaintiff’s home sometime during the course of the work, the suit states.

The plaintiff accuses Verizon of negligence for causing the defective condition of the premises, failing to warn against the defective condition, performing work in an inferior manner, failing to monitor the repairs and installation, failing to supervise, failing to promulgate proper policies so as to prevent the damage, violating local and state ordinances and otherwise committing negligence.

The lawsuit claims that as a result of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff has sustained damages including loss of home value, loss of use and other damages that are permanent in nature.

On the negligence count, Watson seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages, plus prejudgment interest, delay damages, attorney’s fees and other costs.

The lawsuit also contains counts of recklessness and “taking” of property, a constitutional violation.

For each of the other counts listed, the plaintiff also seeks judgment in a sum in excess of $50,000, plus various other costs.


The case ID number is 120501334. 

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