A civil suit brought against the Town of Strasburg is on hold for the foreseeable future as the local business seeking damages for a broken water line that flooded its property moved to nonsuit the case last week.
Bock’s Garage sued Strasburg last year after an April 2018 incident that caused the business to close temporarily. The garage claimed that the town failed to maintain its water line and because the water is a public utility, when it ruptured and flooded the business, the town trespassed on the business’s property and took it.
The garage argued a theory of inverse condemnation — a theory relating to a Virginia Constitution section that allows for recovery against government entities and public utilities when private property is taken or used for public use.
Bock’s Garage was seeking $106,863 in damages from the town.
After several motions, filings and a change of venue from Warren County Circuit Court to Shenandoah County Circuit Court, the town argued, last month, that Bock’s Garage failed to show that the town inversely condemned the property.
In the town’s defense, attorney Martin Schubert argued in an August memorandum that if Bock’s Garage wanted to prove to the court that the town had inversely condemned the property they would be, “essentially required to allege that the taking was purposeful and by design, not the accidental damage of property.
“Merely claiming that the [Town of Strasburg] is engaged in a public use and that that public use caused damage to private property is insufficient to state a claim for inverse condemnation,” the memo continued.
The town filed its memo on Aug. 18, and three weeks later Bock’s Garage moved to voluntarily nonsuit the case on Sept. 11.
At a town meeting earlier this month, the town’s attorney said he wasn’t sure what the strategy behind non-suiting the case is. He said there may have been a mistake in a filing somewhere,but that the town would have to wait and see if the issue is brought up again.