ABSTRACT: In March 2005, the City’s storm drain at Mission St. & 10th Av. failed causing a “gushing stream” to flow into Carmelite Noel Beutel’s residential property at Junipero Av. & 10th Av. In December 2005, Carmelite Noel Beutel filed a lawsuit against the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea alleging the City’s design and maintenance of the storm drain at Mission St. & 10th Av., west of her residence at Junipero Av. & 10th Av., were “faulty in that improper materials were uses, there was no plan for detection of deterioration in the storm drain, and faulty maintenance procedures were employed.” (Noel Beutel vs. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey County Superior Court Case No. M77046) Beutel’s lawsuit seeks reimbursement for the expenses of repairing her residence, appraisal, engineering and attorney’s fees, which are now approximately $400,000. Finally, after numerous delays, Phase I of the Trail commenced on Monday, September 8, 2008. A SYNOPSIS is presented, including information about the ongoing Trial by Judge (Phase I) and upcoming Trial by Jury (Phase II). Each Trial Phase is anticipated to last 2-3 weeks. A GLOSSARY of pertinent legal terms is presented.
• Winter Storm of March 2005: Failure of Storm Drain at Mission St. & 10th Avenue resulted in a “gushing stream” in the front yard of Carmelite Noel Beutel’s residence at Junipero Avenue & 10th Avenue, N.W. Corner.
• June 2005: Carmelite Noel Beutel filed a claim against the City, which denied the claim and referred it to St. Paul Travelers, the City’s insurance company.
• August-September 2005: St. Paul Travelers determined it would not cover the damage to Noel Beutel’s residence because the City did not have prior knowledge of the storm drain’s condition.
• December 1, 2005: Noel Beutel filed a lawsuit in Monterey County Superior Court alleging the City’s design and maintenance of the storm drain were “faulty in that improper materials were uses, there was no plan for detection of deterioration in the storm drain, and faulty maintenance procedures were employed.” (Noel Beutel vs. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey County Superior Court Case No. M77046) Moreover, Grice Engineering and Geology determined her residence “showed severe settlement and some stress,” and concluded the shift occurred rapidly as a result of “the subsurface erosion of the adjacent soils by the corroded storm drain.” Beutel’s lawsuit seeks reimbursement for the expenses of repairing her residence, appraisal, engineering and attorney’s fees.
• April 2006: The City filed response with court, denied any wrongdoing and argued the damages were “caused by the plaintiff’s own conduct or that of a party or parties other than the defendant,” and that she “has not suffered the monetary damages whatsoever,” because of the City. The City requested the court dismiss her suit “with prejudice.”
• Jury Trials scheduled for February 5, 2007, August, 13, 2007, December 10, 2007, April 28, 2008 and September 8, 2008.
• Trail commenced on Monday, September 8, 2008 with Hon. Susan M. Dauphiné presiding in Courtroom 15, 2nd Floor, Monterey Courthouse. Plaintiff Noel Beutel is represented by Robert E. Rosenthal, Bohnen, Rosenthal & Dusenbury; Defendant City of Carmel-by-the-Sea is represented by Stan Linker, Kennedy, Archer & Harray. The Trail has Two Phases:
1. Judge Trial; issues involve negligence and inverse condemnation; anticipated time duration about 2-3 weeks.
2. Jury Trial: issues involve damages; anticipated time duration 2-3 weeks.
Noel Beutel, Carmel-by-the-Sea Resident
LAWSUIT OVER FAILED STORM DRAIN HEADING TO COURT, MARY BROWNFIELD, The Carmel Pine Cone, March 23, 3007
n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit.
n. failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not.
n. the taking of property by a government agency which so greatly damages the use of a parcel of real property that it is the equivalent of condemnation of the entire property. Thus the owner claims he/she is entitled to payment for the loss of the property (in whole or in part) under the constitutional right to compensation for condemnation of property under the government's eminent domain right.