BELLEVUE, Wash. — The City of Bellevue has sued a private school over a January 2022 water main pipe break that led a neighboring house to slide off its foundation and caused millions of dollars worth of damage.
The lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court this week against Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. The school is the property owner where the water main pipe was located and originally installed, the city said.
The city, citing an examination of the site, alleges large amounts of fill were placed on top of the pipe over the years adding “significant weight and pressure.” The pipe separated at a joint, according to the city, which ultimately led to the landslide.
In the lawsuit, the city is seeking to recover the costs of demolishing the home in the Somerset neighborhood and cleanup of the area.
“We know the events of January 2022 were devasting to the Surdi family and that the ensuing investigation has been a painstaking process for the family as well. The legal processes now being undertaken are necessary to ensure the correct parties are identified and all the facts are considered,” the city said in a statement.
The Forest Ridge School said in a statement that it is aware of the lawsuit and that its lawyers are reviewing it.
“We remain committed to working with all parties involved to reach a resolution in this matter,” the statement read in part.
The home was damaged on Jan. 17, 2022, after a landslide caused by the water main break knocked the structure off its foundation.
The home was demolished in February 2022 after the city filed a complaint against the family for not allowing the structure, which was standing at an angle above a public road, to be removed. Power was cut off to a number of homes near the Surdis' property while the structure stood. The city and the family eventually reached an agreement that would allow the Surdis to recover as much of their personal property as could be safely salvaged and begin the demolition process.
The Surdi family later sued the city for $5 million in damages. The filing said the city was negligent in not addressing decades-old Asbestos Concrete pipes and putting in measures that could have prevented the rupture and subsequent collapse of the family's home.