FRONT ROYAL — A local Strasburg business returned to court late last month to amend a complaint it filed against the town.
In April 2018, a water pipe running across the property owned by Bock’s Garage broke, flooding the property, destroying vehicles and equipment on the lot and forced the business to close until the flooding was cleaned up. In April of this year, Bock’s Garage took the matter to Warren County Circuit Court, alleging the town failed to maintain its property, trespassed on its private property and sought $106,863 from the town in damages.
Since the complaint was filed, the town has not responded, according to court documents.
On Oct. 29, Bock’s Garage returned to the court, claiming it uncovered new evidence and filed a motion to amend its initial complaint. The amended complaint, which included the third claim of inverse condemnation, was granted by a judge on Oct. 30.
According to the complaint, inverse condemnation occurs when “private property is taken or damaged for a public use without just compensation to the owner.”
David Silek, the attorney representing Bock’s Garage, wrote in the complaint that “[t]he exorbitant amount of interference that [the town] has caused to [Bock’s Garage’s] property, amounts to taking of said property without lawful authority…”
In the original complaint, Silek argued that because the town owned and maintained the waterline, it should be held responsible for not repairing the line before it broke and not turning off the line before it flooded Bock’s Garage property.
The complaint argues the town “intentionally, recklessly, willfully, negligently or as the result of inadequately maintaining” the water line caused extensive damage “that has rendered said property valueless and virtually unusable for a period of time.”
The garage is claiming the water damaged $76,089 worth of equipment and parts; $7,107 in lost business after closing due to the flooding; $3,746 for cleaning and repairing their property and $19,919 in damages to the vehicles and parts that were damaged.
The garage’s amended complaint does not seek any additional money in damages but is also asking the court to charge the town for its attorney’s fees; interest, "including pre-judgement interest from the date of the loss" and “other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”