Family who lost home in Bellevue mudslide sues city

BELLEVUE, Wash. — A Bellevue family is suing the city over a landslide that destroyed their home.

On Jan. 17, the home of John and Barbara Surdi slid off its foundation and partially collapsed after the city of Bellevue’s water main ruptured, causing a mudflow.

According to court documents, the 8-inch asbestos cement water pipe was installed in 1960, on a hillside that slopes down to the Surdis’ property.

The suit alleges the city knew the pipe was installed at an angle on the hillside, which increased the risk that the pipe would fail due to instability of the slope, and the city had known that for at least 30 years.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the loss of the home, along with vehicles and personal property,

The Surdis’ lawsuit comes after the city of Bellevue tried to sue the family over the mudslide. David Bricklin, the family’s attorney, says that the suit has been dropped.

Bricklin says the focus for the family now is to come to some sort of resolution.

The City of Bellevue sent KIRO 7 a statement that reads in part:

“The slide was a complex incident, and it will take more than a couple of months to determine the cause and any potential liability.

The pipe involved in the Jan. 17, 2022 slide event was installed by the owner of the hillside in the early 1970′s, not the city. It’s an 8-inch water line that has had no prior history of reported leaks or breakage. The pipe remains buried in the hillside under approximately 10-20 feet of fill and has now been video scoped several times. Based on this initial investigation there appears to have been no catastrophic break of the pipe.”

The city said that it recognizes that this has been an “incredibly painful process” for the family. But it also said that it expected the lawsuit and is not surprised by it, saying the city hasn’t taken any action so far as to affirm or deny the claim.

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