City pays thousands to settle lawsuits over open water meters - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

City pays thousands to settle lawsuits over open water meters

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ATLANTA -

The city of Atlanta will pay more huge settlements after two people were hurt walking down the street.

During Memorial Day weekend of 2011, tourist Susan Swan was enjoying an evening in Little Five Points. As she strolled down Moreland Avenue, the ground beneath her gave way.

Swan fell into an open water meter outside of the Vortex restaurant and broke her hip and leg. She filed suit, claiming that the city failed to take reasonable precautions to endure pedestrians' safety.

The case never made it to trial. City attorneys determined that Swan's case was solid, so they agreed to settle for $240,000.

Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Bond, who is also Public Safety Chairman, said he's frustrated about the length of time it takes Watershed Management to make repairs.

"We settle a lot of the water meter cover cases because of the previous issues in the water department about the covers not fitting right," said City Councilmember Michael Bond.

That aggravation is compounded by the fact the city is about to pay a second settlement of $90,000 to someone who fell in the same open meter on Moreland Avenue just a few months after Swan's accident -- after the city knew about the hazard.

"It is very, very frustrating – particularly because the city was on notice," Bond said. "Once we receive that notice, we've got to be able to get our crews out to repair that type of damage."

Bond has been assured most of the ill-fitting water meter covers they had problems with have been replaced. He said that work is almost complete but at the end of the day he says looking at the numbers the city has to do better.

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