A Cook County jury has determined that the city of Des Plaines must pay $1.15 million to the owners of an office complex that sustained flood damages when a lake used for stormwater retention overflowed its banks in 2011.
The jury award to the owners of O'Hare Lake Office Plaza at 2300 E. Devon Ave. is in response to July 23, 2011, floods that damaged four office buildings.
A 1990 agreement between O'Hare Lake and the city stipulated that the city could construct stormwater pipes into and out of Lake Peterson, which sits in the middle of the office complex, but also had to pay for any flood damages, should they occur.
"The city was supposed to reimburse and indemnify for costs, and they didn't," said attorney Rick Hoffman, of Northbrook-based Cohen, Salk & Huvard, which represented the office plaza owners. "(Based on) testimony, the day after the flood, the mayor at the time, Marty Moylan, came out to the property and told our people, 'We'll take care of you. Get us the costs and we'll take care of you.' Then they went radio silent.
"Our client testified he'd call and wouldn't get anybody to return his calls."
After sending a demand letter to city hall and not getting a response, the office plaza owners decided to file suit against the city in August 2011.
Hoffman said the buildings sustained varying degrees of flooding damage, but the one with the most damage included the regional offices of the Federal Aviation Administration. A fifth building at the complex owned by O'Hare Lake also had flooded, but wasn't included in the suit because it had been damaged from a previous flood.
Hoffman said he and the city's attorneys weren't able to reach an out-of-court settlement, which led to the trial in Cook County circuit court. O'Hare Lake owners originally sought $1.2 million in the suit, but their attorneys will be going back to court later this month to ask the city to pay attorneys fees and interest, which could bring the total award amount to $1.7 million.
City officials couldn't be reached for comment Friday.