Steve Liddle resolved Etheridge v City of Grosse Pointe Park (Foxcreek litigation). In the Foxcreek litigation we were able to end Grosse Pointe Park’s 60 year practice of dumping untreated sewage into a canal system that bordered the plaintiffs’ property and required the defendant to pay $3.8 million in monetary damages to the plaintiffs. Foxcreek was the first instance where we successfully used the class action mechanism to address neighborhood environmental concerns.
We successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of residents of numerous metro Detroit communities arising from flooding that occurred in 1998. These communities included Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Taylor, Redford Township, Garden City, Warren, Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Birmingham and Beverly Hills. Many of these residents had previously flooded on numerous occasions and had never received compensation.
Steve Liddle purchased 975 East Jefferson Avenue to acquire a permanent location to better serve our clients. 975 East Jefferson is a 150 year old mansion located in downtown Detroit which Mr. Liddle has, with great pride, renovated and utilized to this day as the offices of Liddle & Dubin, PC.
We successfully lobbied for the enactment of MCL 691.1416 et seq. (Michigan Public Act 222) which by statute allows a homeowner to file a claim for damages arising from a sewage backup. As a result of this law, we prevailed in the Michigan Supreme Court in Pohutski v. Allen Park. In Pohutski, thousands of homeowners claimed damages arising from a sewage backup. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs’ claims were completely barred by governmental immunity. It was obvious that the Michigan Supreme Court believed that, under the then current law, claims of damages arising from a sewage backup would be barred by the doctrine of governmental immunity. This meant that, no matter how wrongful the defendant’s conduct, a plaintiff could not sue for damages arising from a sewage backup.
Rather than accept this decision, we retained a lobbyist and engaged in a massive grass roots campaign to convince the legislature of the State of Michigan to enact a law allowing for a claim of damages arising from a sewage backup. We specifically utilized the fact that we had successfully represented thousands of Michigan residents claiming damages arising from a sewage backup and had these people write letters and attend legislative hearings where they offered testimony in support of our proposed legislation. The new law specifically allowed plaintiffs suffering damages as a result of a sewage backup to file litigation that would not be automatically barred by the doctrine of governmental immunity. Mr. Liddle served as the sole homeowner representative in negotiations over the language of this legislation. The enactment of Public Act 222 serves as a great illustration of Liddle & Dubin’s commitment to its clients.
Steve Liddle was named a Lawyer of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for his efforts in Pohutski.
We successfully resolved the Pohutski claims by obtaining settlements of almost $20 million. After prevailing in Pohutski, the presiding Federal Judge John Feikens issued a Memorandum expressing his displeasure with the Supreme Court’s decision in Pohutski as he believed that the plaintiffs should endure the damages caused to their property “for the good of the community.” Rather than accept the hostility of a Federal Judge, we stuck by our principals and filed a Motion to Recuse him for bias. Ultimately, after enduring several years of the Federal Court’s obvious disdain for our persistence, we successfully obtained the largest settlement for damages arising from a sewage backup of which we have ever heard.
Steve Liddle obtains a settlement in Beaushaw v Monitor Sugar Co. for claims of noxious odors and air pollution emitted from a sugar beet processing facility for payment of $1,750,000. The settlement is noteworthy as the defendant claimed that its activity was legal by various laws enacted to protect agricultural facilities. However, the plaintiffs successfully prevailed and obtained damages for a problem that had plagued Bay City, Michigan, for many years.
David R. Dubin named as partner.
Steve Liddle and David Dubin resolved Hawkins v EQ Chemical Resources by payment from the defendant of $3,750,000 as a result of an explosion at a hazardous waste processing facility. The defendant claimed that the explosion did not release hazardous chemicals into the surrounding community. However, the plaintiffs conducted their own sampling and thus were able to dramatically increase the settlement value. We believe that this is one of the largest explosion settlements in the history of the State of Michigan.
Due to our success in handling neighborhood sewage backups and pollution claims, we begin to be contacted by residents outside of the State of Michigan seeking representation. This led us to filing numerous cases in other jurisdictions.
Steve Liddle and David Dubin resolve Gardner v Lafarge Corp. for payment of $1.9 million and an agreement to invest $700,000 in pollution abatement equipment to reduce and/or eliminate the discharge of fallout and/or fugitive dust from a cement manufacturing facility. This case is noteworthy as we successfully prevailed on 2 appeals to the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Steve Liddle resolved Waldron v Republic Services. In Waldron, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant’s landfill had emitted obnoxious odors and air pollution into the surrounding community for many years. The defendant was permitted as a dry tomb landfill but accepted waste with an excessive moisture content which led to the creation of landfill gases greatly in excess of what was originally anticipated when the landfill was permitted. Pursuant to the settlement, the defendant, in addition to paying monetary damages, agreed to invest $2.5 million in increasing the size of and improving its landfill gas collection system so that landfill odors would not be released into the surrounding community.
Steve Liddle resolves Liberman v. Town of Highland (Indiana), for $1,950,000. Liberman involved damages arising from a sewage backup. The defendants had numerous instances of previous sewage backups for which they had never paid damages. We successfully defended the case before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
David Dubin resolves Cash v. City of Rockford (Illinois) for $2.5 million. The Cash case involved damages arising from a 2007 flood in Rockford, IL. The plaintiffs claimed that the City had failed to properly maintain Keith Creek and its stormwater sewer system. The area had suffered flooding from Keith Creek for many decades. Despite the City’s claim that it was not responsible for maintaining Keith Creek, we successfully prevailed and obtained damages for a problem that had plagued Rockford for many years.