OPINION ISSUED MARCH 27, 1987
JOHN H. SUTPHIN AND NANCY SUTPHIN
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
John R. Mitchell, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimants John H. and Nancy Sutphin are owners of property located
Route 4 in Julian,
Boone County, which they purchased in 1957. Little Coal River is
behind the property.
There are two 200-foot lots which are located between the road and
river. Claimants reside
in a house on one of these lots. The property is below the road.
Claimants allege that respondent
failed to properly maintain the ditch lines of Route 4 which causes
water to flow onto claimants'
property. Claimants maintain that the lot adjacent to the lot on
the house is located is no
longer usable and they seek $50,000.00 for damages to the property.
Claimant John Sutphin testified that when the property was
"...there wasn't any
drainage, and there wasn't any bad water problems." He did state,
though, that the land
remained damp in the early spring as a result of the spring rains.
contacted the Department
of Agriculture and had drain tile placed in the bottom field to
alleviate this problem in the early
1960's. Since the construction of Corridor G, the property has
experienced severe water
problems. At the time, Route 4 was also widened., and rock base was
placed in the ditch lines.
He stated that there are three drainpipes located under the surface
Route 4 below his
property, and they are "...completely filled over and stopped
up level with the road."
Mr. Sutphin placed a ditch approximately halfway back from the edge
the road to the river.
Mr. Sutphin also explained that a culvert is located under the
just above the driveway
of the claimants' house. This culvert empties onto the adjoining
property which is owned by a
Mr. Gillespie. Claimant John Sutphin admitted that most of the
coming from the
Claimant Nancy Sutphin testified that when they purchased the
the lot in question
was damp, but water did not stand on it. She stated that from the
60's to approximately
1977 there were no drainage problems on the property. The problems
started when the ditches
along Route 4 were filled with rock. She confirmed the fact that
land is higher behind their
William Jearld Reese, a real estate appraiser, testified that he
appraised the Sutphin property.
He stated that this property is useless due to water damage. He
stated that if the proper
drains were placed, the lot would be appraised at $28,000.00.
No evidence was presented by the respondent and after careful
consideration of the evidence
presented by the claimant, the Court concludes that the drainage on
claimants' property results
from a combination of factors. The property is in a natural
area. Respondent's failure to
maintain the ditch lines of Route 4 ha,s caused an excess of water
drain onto claimants'
property. Claimants' property is also subject to drainage from the
adjoining property, and this
water may be flowing from the surface of Route 4. Although
attempted to alleviate
these problems, the surface water from the highway has prevented
claimants from the full use of
their land. For these reasons, the Court is of the opinion to make
award to the claimants in
the amount of $16, 800.00.
Award of $16,800.00.