Family blames MSD for 73-year-old Louisville woman's accidental death
Was it a freak accident or bad construction? Her family blames MSD and says the same danger is lurking behind hundreds of Louisville homes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 73-year old Louisville woman fell to her death when the ground collapsed over a covered well.
Dorothy Brown's fears the same danger is lurking behind hundreds of Louisville homes.
Mark Brown sat on the steps of his mother's Valley Station home Wednesday, remembering the sudden end of her life.
"She was the backbone of our family, she really was," Brown said. "She fell through the ground over the top of a dry well from an existing septic system that had been closed down."
The medical examiner's report said it was an 18-20 foot drop. The hole is so deep you can't see the bottom in the video captured at the Sun Valley Drive home.
The March 2015 incident is the center of a lawsuit against Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and Team Contracting. The family claims Brown died from negligent construction. The complaint says MSD did not supervise its subcontractor well enough.
In the mid 1990s, MSD started connecting all the homes in the Valley Station and PRP area to county sewer lines under the Moorewick Way collector project.
Brown says the old dry wells in backyards were never filled.
"It's not that they didn't care," he said. "They just totally overlooked what is going to happen with all these homes in 20 years if they're not back-filled."
Team Contracting folded in 2011.
MSD declined to comment in our report but in court filings, wants the case dismissed. The motion reads in part, "Simply put, Kentucky does not recognize negligence claims arising from the alleged negligent hiring or supervision of contractors." The city agency also says the case falls outside the statute of limitations.
Since the accident Dorthy's neighbors have started to worry about their own homes.
"It's under that big bush," said 81-year-old-neighbor Bill Simpson. "I wouldn't have known to have somebody fill it in if that hadn't had happened."
The family is hosting a town hall later this month, laying the groundwork for a class action case.
We visited the site today. The hole is covered up, but it is not filled in. It's considered evidence should the case ever reach trial. The family says it wants the jury to go there and see how Dorothy died. Brown said "It basically shattered her skull."
He said the siblings don't want millions. They wants Dorothy's neighbors' homes made right.
"It may be five or 10 years from now," Brown said. "It may be a kid or another adult, but it's going to happen again."
That town hall is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 at the Our Lady of Consolation Gym at 10803 Deering Road.
Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.