An Illinois insurance company is suing several Chicago suburbs alleging the communities didn’t do enough to prevent the severe flooding that wreaked havoc on much of the state last year.
Farmers Insurance Group recently filed civil lawsuits against nearly 200 Illinois municipalities and counties—and consequently their taxpayers -- saying that those governmental agencies “failed to remedy known dangerous conditions” that eventually led to severe flooding in April of 2013.
The suit aims to force the communities to pay the company back for claims it paid following the spring flooding.
“It’s legally infirm and factually off base,” said Chief Deputy State’s Attorney in Lake County Daniel Jasica.
Lake is one of many counties being sued by the insurance giant.
Jasica said he doesn’t feel Farmers has any chance of winning the lawsuit, claiming entities like Lake County have “immunity” from this type of case and “arguments that [the flood] was really an act of God.”
In a statement, Farmers said it “has taken what we believe is the necessary action to recover payments made on behalf of our customers, for damages caused by what we believe to be a completely preventable issue, as well as to prevent it from happening again.”
And some residents agree.
“Sewage system could have probably been better,” resident Ray Young said.
The suit comes amid more flooding concerns this week, after torrential rain and severe weather rained down on many suburbs, including those in Lake County.
But officials say they’ve always worked to prevent or limit the effects of flooding in the area.
“We invite people to come to our meeting to see what we are doing, but millions of dollars are being spent on this issue every year,” Jasica said.
Officials in several suburbs claim they projected the rise of the Des Plaines River before heavy rain, bought property in flood zones, and even put sandbags to hold back the rainwater.