A Farmington man is suing the town and two local contractors after a broken sewer line and subsequent blockage caused the man’s home to be flooded with raw sewage and forced him to move out for months.

Joseph Pinkham, of 142 Prescott St., said negligence by the town and contractors Bruce A. Manzer Inc., of Anson, and Ted Berry Company, Inc., of Livermore, resulted in extensive damage to the house and significant costs to make repairs and renovations.

“Mr. Pinkham lived there many years and never had any problems,” said Pinkham’s attorney, Jeffrey Edwards. “He certainly doesn’t want to sue the town where he’s lived most of his life, but obviously he has no choice because of the significant harm he’s suffered because of this discharge of raw sewage into his home.”

In late January the town sewer became plugged next to Pinkham’s property, causing raw sewage to back up so that his home became flooded with it, according to the lawsuit, originally filed April 10 in Franklin County Superior Court.

The cause of the flooding was road repairs the town had contracted with Bruce A. Manzer Inc. to make in the summer of 2017 on Prescott Street.

During those repairs, Manzer’s equipment crushed the sewer line.

Manzer, in turn, hired another company, Ted Berry Co., Inc., to inspect and clear the sewer lines and ensure they would function properly after repairs were made.

However, the company missed a blockage in the line and therefore also contributed to the damage, the suit said.

Matthew Timberlake, president of Ted Berry Co., declined to comment.

A local phone number for Manzer Inc. appeared no longer to be in service.

Edwards said the company’s assets were sold in February to Pike Industries, an asphalt and aggregate materials producer based in New Hampshire, though that company did not assume any of Manzer’s liabilities.

The lawsuit said the town was also at fault for not ensuring the roadwork was done properly and for failing to act quickly to turn the sewer off when the break occurred, which could have stopped the flooding sooner.

The result was extensive damage to the house, significant costs to repair and renovate, the loss of a place for Pinkham to live, the cost of replacing items lost in the damage, and attorney’s fees.

The house has been uninhabitable since the flood Jan. 23 and probably will have to be demolished, according to Edwards. He said Pinkham and his partner currently are living in an apartment at his son’s home in Farmington, but “it’s a very temporary arrangement.”

Edwards said it’s likely the damages will exceed $500,000 and that all of the contents of the basement and first floor of the home were destroyed or compromised.

The town is aware of the suit and has contacted its insurance company to handle the case, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said.

“They’ve assigned an attorney, who has said that thus far the town is not liable,” Davis said. “It’s the contractors we used on the road project. That’s the town’s position at this point.”

A second home in the neighborhood also sustained minor damage, but the owner is not seeking damages, he said.

Pinkham does have homeowner’s insurance, but his claim was denied by Liberty Mutual, Edwards said. He said he and his client disagree with the denial and are filing a separate suit against the insurance company.

“It’s very early in the process,” Edwards said. “Hopefully there will be some resolution, but given that my client has lost his home and no one wants to step forward and indemnify him for his losses, we will proceed with litigation and work it out that way if we have to.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

filed under: