Sewage flood leads to insurance fight

Published 12:14 am Monday, April 26, 2010

MERIDIAN (AP) — Two days before Harold and Nell Grissom’s 60th anniversary, a flood of sewage swamped their home. Four months later, they’re still fighting with the city of Meridian’s insurance company.

‘‘The city accepted that it was their fault and turned it over to their insurance,’’ said Nell Grissom, 78. She said Traveler’s Insurance offered only $18,000.

‘‘It will cost $12,000 just to replace the carpet,’’ she said.

Nell Grissom said she doesn’t hold anything against the city for the flood of sewage itself. Mistakes happen.

But, she said, ‘‘It’s very hurtful to know that we’re going into the fourth month of this and that none of the elected officials have called.

‘‘There was no communication until I had to go into the hospital and I called our son who is an attorney and turned it over to him.’’

From the outside, their house looks just like the others in their neighborhood, with a clean facade and well-kept lawn. Inside, parts of the walls have been cut away and every bit of carpet and wood flooring is gone, along with every bit of fabric, from sofas to bed sheets, because of sewage contamination.

Harold Grissom Sr., 85, said he was watching television when he heard the sound of rushing water. He walked to the hallway and ‘‘was met by a black wall of stuff,’’ he said.

Nell Grissom said their exit was so chaotic she isn’t sure what was salvaged.

‘‘We really don’t know what we have and what we don’t have,’’ she said. ‘‘People just tried to grab things and save what we could.’’

Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry said, ‘‘Any time any of my citizens are in heartache, I am devastated over it.

‘‘But the city met its obligation through our insurance carrier and once we do that it’s turned over to Traveler’s Insurance … It is out of the city’s hands.’’

The company’s attorney, Lee Thaggard, said he is still talking to the Grissoms’ attorney but cannot comment on any details, including the size of any offers made to the couple.

Meridian Public Works Director Monty Jackson did not return The Meridian Star’s phone calls to ask what caused the flood of sewage.

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Information from: The Meridian Star, http://www.meridianstar.com