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Port Leyden family sues village, school over alleged basement flooding

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LOWVILLE — A Port Leyden family is seeking damages from that village and the South Lewis Central School District over alleged flooding of its basement.

Michael R. Shew, a past Copenhagen mayor, along with his wife, Molly R., and in-laws Edward W. and Cheryl L. Russell, claim the two entities should be culpable for mid-March flooding at their residence at 7178 E. Main St., according to a state Supreme Court lawsuit filed recently in the Lewis County clerk’s office.

The home is owned by the Russells and occupied by the Shews.

Mr. Shew, who operates a plumbing and heating business from the residence, initially discussed the flooding issue with the village’s mayor and superintendent of public works, according to the lawsuit.

The suit, filed by Syracuse attorney James A. Maggesto, claims that the issue was caused by a clogged manhole on the property and that the village was negligent in not inspecting it or taking care of the matter immediately.

“Where the Village has undertaken to provide sewers and drains, not keeping these sewers and drains in good condition and repair renders the Village liable for damages,” it states.

The lawsuit also says that the flooding was worsened by sewage discharges from Port Leyden Elementary School, which is across the street from the residence and is connected to the municipal sewer system via the same manhole, and that school officials refused a request from Mr. Shew to stop pumping waste into the system.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, along with payment of court fees.

Mayor Alan D. Scouten said the matter is being handled by the village’s liability insurance carrier but declined further comment.

Mr. Shew served as mayor in Copenhagen for nine years before stepping down for personal reasons in 2008.

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