PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia denies it is responsible for damage to Verizon Pennsylvania’s telecommunications equipment, damages sustained as a result of the break of a City-owned water main two summers ago.
In documents filed with the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on March 29, the City denied being negligent in maintaining the water main prior to its break and that it was on notice of the main’s poor condition, demanding proof of these assertions at trial.
Further, the City claimed immunity from suit in this matter per the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, that the plaintiff failed to give the City six months’ written notice of the claim as required by law, any recovery in the event of the City’s liability was to be reduced or eliminated in accordance with the Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Act and the suit was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
Counsel for Verizon refuted the City’s new matter claims in a filing on April 7.
Verizon Pennsylvania, LLC of Basking Ridge, N.J. first filed suit against the City on Feb. 3.
“On or about July 27, 2015, a water main, owned and controlled by the defendant, the City of Philadelphia, broke at Academy Road and Convent Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, causing Academy Road to collapse, damaging Verizon’s conduit and destroying its copper cable,” Verizon’s suit claims.
Verizon alleges the City’s negligence in maintaining the water main created the type of dangerous condition of streets that could have foretold this type of injury and that on Sept. 17, 2015, it placed the City on notice of the claim in accordance with statutory requirements.
Verizon says it incurred repair costs of $29,048.82 to repair the conduit, cable, wires and telecommunications facilities, and quoted City Code Section 11-705 that “a Licensee or City agency shall be liable for damage that it, or a person working for it, causes to the right-of-way or to any property or facilities owned or used by the City, other Licensees, or other users of the right-of-way, and shall promptly repair or reimburse the City for damage to the right-of-way, and promptly reimburse the owner of the damaged facilities for damages thereto.”
Due to counts of negligence and nuisance, the plaintiff is seeking damages of $29,048.82, plus costs, attorney’s fees and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Andrew L. Salvatore in West Chester.
The defendant is represented by Michael Karasik of the Deputy City Solicitor’s Office.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170104968
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org