Nate And Emily
Nate and Emily owned a home in town, but Nate’s job required that the family move out of state. They weren’t able to sell the house, so Emily called the city to have the water turned off so their friends could winterize the home. A couple of months later, when Emily paid the water bill, the city maintenance man went back to the house and his records indicated he turned the water off again. A few weeks later when Emily’s friend was checking on the house, she discovered running water, overflowing sinks and bathtubs, and destroyed ceilings, walls and floors in the home. According to the water meter, more than a million gallons of water had washed through the home. It had been ruined.
Emily obtained records from the city that showed the city maintenance man had turned the water off at the curb three consecutive times, with no intervening record of the water being turned back on. But the city denied fault and refused to pay for the damage to the home. Nate and Emily filed suit against the city. At the trial, the city and its witnesses blamed Nate and Emily and their friends for leaving the water spigots open after the house was winterized. The city also claimed that a vandal or some other third party must have turned on the water, and even went so far as to suggest that Emily’s friends had turned the water on and then blamed the city for the damage. The jury saw through all of the city’s excuses, accepted the truth revealed by the circumstantial evidence presented by Nate and Emily, and awarded them every dollar they asked for to repair the water damage, plus interest.