The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment in favor of the City of Evansville based on an untimely tort claims notice under the Tort Claims Act.

In Reed v. City of Evansville, the plaintiffs claimed that a sewer line below their house was causing mold and other problems with their property. While they learned of the sewer line in 2007, they did not file a tort claims notice until 2008. The Court held that the plaintiffs’ claims were not barred for failure to provide a timely tort claims notice. The Court held that the defects in the sewer line were subject to a discovery rule and that the plaintiffs timely gave notice after they had a reasonable opportunity to discover the issues caused by the sewer line.

While the plaintiffs knew of the sewer line well before giving notice, the Court held that the key question was whether they had reason to know of a causal connection between the sewer line and the damages to the plaintiffs’ property. It found an issue of fact as to whether the plaintiffs could have reasonably the causal connection prior to their 2008 tort claims notice.

The case can be found online at http://www.ai.org/judiciary/opinions/pdf/08291101mgr.pdf