BELLEVUE, Wash. - As the City of Bellevue and the family displaced by a landslide last January get closer to a resolution, officials now claim the fault lies with a nearby private school.
On Jan. 17, 2022, the home of John and Barb Surdi was ripped from its foundation during a landslide. A river of water and mud pulled their home and carpet business down the hill and into the street, injuring Barbara, who was still inside at the time. The city initially suggested heavy rain was the cause of the landslide that broke the asbestos cement water pipe above the property. The Surdi’s lawsuit claimed the opposite, that the pipe failure is what triggered the landslide.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Bellevue family files lawsuit against city after landslide destroys home
The cause of the slide was eventually determined to be an aged water main built in the 1960s, which burst and swept the house down onto the street.
Nearly a year later, the City of Bellevue is now suing the nearby Forest Ridge School—an all-girls Catholic school located on the hill behind the Surdis' home—saying construction projects on their property over the years put too much weight on the water pipe and caused it to break.
According to city officials, the school commissioned the installation of the pipe when they began building, and they own the property where the pipe is located. Further, the lawsuit claims the water main broke due to factors outside the city's control.
The city and the Surdi family are nearing a resolution, attorneys say, but this suit means a new party is being brought to the table.
"We know the events of January 2022 were devasting[sic] to the Surdi family and that the ensuing investigation has been a painstaking process for the family as well," the city said in a written statement. "The legal processes now being undertaken are necessary to ensure the correct parties are identified and all the facts are considered."
FOX 13 News reached out to Forest Ridge School, and a spokesperson said they are aware of the lawsuit and their attorneys are reviewing it.