Augusta Dogged by Lawsuit

From Georgia learns ChronicleAugusta reports a pre-HUD Code mobile home that caught fire in the middle of the night in 2006 and took the lives of a young couple spawned several lawsuits brought by the families. The city of Augusta claims protection under the legal principle of sovereign immunity in defending itself, a claim rejected by the court. A city electrical inspector, who did not enter the 37 year-old rental, had approved reconnecting the electricity a month before the fire broke out at night. The city claims it was not necessary to enter the home and that the cause of the fire is unknown. Plaintiffs contend city code requires an inside inspection. The city has lost appeals to the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. Augusta may now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, settle with the families, or face trial in neighboring Columbia County. Georgia Power and one of the landlords, both named in the lawsuit, settled out of court.

(Photo credit: The Augusta Chronicle)

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