An Allied Gardens woman is suing the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) for at least $500,000 after rainstorms in January and February led to property damage at her home on Keighley Street.
Donna Nuss-Rick and her attorney allege the school district was negligent in maintaining a storm drain that clogged, causing a mudflow into Nuss-Rick’s backyard and home. Her next door neighbor is also part of the lawsuit seeking $50,000 in property damage.
“It was like a waterfall. The entire back brick wall was just like a waterfall and I was just shocked,” said Nuss-Rick.
Her backyard is up against a large dirt bank. Lewis Middle School is located at the top of the bank.
The lawsuit, filed on October 10, claims a drain on playing fields at the school was not adequately maintained and led to the damage.
Nuss-Rick says the damage came after two rainstorms. In January 2017, heavy rain caused mud from the school district-maintained bank to flow into her yard.
A month later, after a February rainstorm, it happened again. But this time, she says three feet of mud flowed into her swimming pool and water and mud inundated her home.
“It was literally just like lava, straight into the kitchen,” said Nuss-Rick.
“The school district was negligent in maintaining their property causing this issue,” said attorney Patrick E. Catalano.
According to the lawsuit, Nuss-Rick’s home “was severely damaged, including but not limited to by water intrusion into the house which damaged flooring and walls, by mudflows covering and ruining appurtenant structures.”
While the legal case plays out, Nuss-Rick says she is worried what future rains could bring.
“I am absolutely terrified of any rain, even the little sprinkle rain that we had this summer, that raises that anxiety level for me, what's going to give way give way this time,” said Nuss-Rick.
A spokesperson for the school district would not comment on the lawsuit because the case is currently being litigated.