Grosse Pointe Park families to file class action lawsuit due to flood damage

Nearly a dozen families in Grosse Pointe Park have joined a class action lawsuit that demands money and answers for why the flooding was so severe.
Nearly a dozen families in Grosse Pointe Park have joined a class action lawsuit that demands money and answers for why the flooding was so severe.

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. – Nearly a dozen families in Grosse Pointe Park have joined a class action lawsuit that demands money and answers for why the flooding was so severe.

It’s estimated that hundreds of dollars of damage was caused to their homes by the wastewater.

The lawsuit -- expected to be filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court -- aims to pursue damage claims against local authorities and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which Grosse Pointe Park city officials blamed for the flooding.

It’s been about three weeks since the flooding and the streets of Grosse Pointe Park still have trash on the side of the road -- drywall, Halloween decorations, baby equipment and more.

One of the lawyers on the lawsuit is also a victim of the floods -- Grosse Pointe Park resident Paul Doherty. Sewerage and storm runoff mixed together and flooded his home. He said it was between 8-9 feet deep.

“It looked, my basement door was like looking into a brown swimming pool,” Doherty said. “Literally geysers up from the storm drains in the basement.”

Doherty works with the Ven Johnson Law firm, which points to the issues that impacted the Conner Creek Pump Station in Detroit and the Freud Street Containment Facility as the problem. They’re both owned by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), but they’re also suing the cities of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park because their pumps didn’t work when they should have.

They’re claiming their clients had their property taken, their homes were subject to trespass and gross negligence.

Doherty said he spent a week in a hotel and he’s still drying out his house.

“I am without hot water, a washing machine and without air conditioning,” Doherty said.

Those who have been impacted from the storm have until Aug. 8 to file damage claims with their local municipality. You can report the damages here.

The GLWA released the following statement Wednesday:

“At its meeting today, the Great Lakes Water Authority Board of Directors formed an Ad Hoc Committee from which it will lead the Board’s independent investigation of GLWA’s response to the June 25-26, 2021, rain event. The Ad Hoc Committee will include John Zech, the Board representative appointed by Wayne County, Brian Baker, the Board representative appointed by Macomb County and Gary Brown, one of the two Board representatives appointed by the city of Detroit. One of the committee’s first actions will be to hire an engineering firm and a legal firm to assist them in their review.”

Michelle A. Zdrodowski, chief public affairs officer

A statement from the city of Grosse Pointe Park reads

“The City’s pumps and infrastructure worked correctly and as intended during the rain event. At this point, it is our understanding that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and/or Great Lakes Water Authority experienced several failures with their systems during the rain event that caused various levels of damage to many of our residents. We are continuing to engage in an exhaustive investigation and evaluation of this event. When additional information is available to us, we will share it with our residents, and welcome further discussion after a full investigation is complete. The City is also committed to developing long term solutions to the issue with its regional partners and to assisting the City’s residents recovering from the damage caused.”

Nick Sizeland, Grosse Pointe Park city manager

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About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.