Court Reverses Ruling That Would Pay Homeowners for Damages


The Nebraska Supreme Court said more than a dozen Columbus homeowners whose basements were fouled by sewer backups during a 2004 rainstorm are not entitled to damages from the city.

The homeowners sought a total of more than $125,000 in damages. They said a city worker who restarted pumps at a sewage lift station caused the backup.

The state high court's decision released Friday reverses a Nebraska Court of Appeals ruling last year. The Court of Appeals had found that while the city was not negligent, it was liable on the basis of "inverse condemnation."

That means the government takes or damages private property for public use without paying just compensation.

However the high court said the homeowners didn't show their property was damaged "for public use."