So brutally fast on 2. August 2014 the flood had come, so slowly now the litigation drags along. Torrential rainfall that night left the streets, garden and cellar of the newmark suburb of hegnabrunn under water. Also by hermann kastner. Since then, he has been arguing with the municipality of neuenmarkt about who will pay for the damage. 78.945,68 euro the plaintiff wants to have.
Several court hearings have taken place over the past five years. Evidence was collected with witnesses, expert opinions were obtained from the weather service and from an expert, and the expert was changed.
End of the process in sight?
On monday, they met again in front of the 4. Civil chamber of the bayreuth district court. The end of the process now seems to be in sight. The municipality of neuenmarkt apparently has bad cards to play. "I do not see an unclear legal question", said chairman judge gunther matt. The municipality and its insurance company are liable.
The following were before the chamber: plaintiff hermann kastner and attorney christian ebert, kulmbach, and, on behalf of the defendant, mayor siegfried decker and attorney karl friedrich hacker, bayreuth.
The judge recapped the state of the proceedings. According to this, kastner’s property in waldenburger strabe was under water at the time. The plaintiff claims that a burst canal caused the leakage of rainwater. It had run over undeveloped land onto his property and flooded the cellar to the height of the room.
According to the plaintiff, the damage to the canal had been known for years. But the municipality has done nothing.
The municipality of neuenmarkt denies that the damaged sewer was the main cause. Liability does not apply because of greater violence. Rather, there are structural deficiencies in the kastner house.
The defendant’s attorney complained that there was no 15-centimeter threshold at the top of the stairs leading to the plaintiff’s basement. "Then nothing happens at all", said hacker. The lawyer for the other party: "the threshold is down in front of the door – with expiration, as it should be. Nothing more is required in terms of construction."
Before the parties could discuss the matter further, the court found that the second expert had clearly identified the cause of the damage in his meticulous 75-page expert report: the condition of the canal.
Matt saw a problem only in proving the specific damage: among other things, the court would need proof of equipment, tools and furnishings that were broken.
The judge asked whether "a settlement with eyesight" was possible is possible. "Or is the procedure to be litigated to the end with the corresponding costs?" Because further expert opinions are probably necessary.
Settlement not excluded
Both sides signaled that a settlement was not out of the question. At first, no one wanted to name a specific sum. "He who moves first has not lost", the judge said and encouraged the parties to settle.
The plaintiff’s lawyer opened the round of bidders: "three quarters of our demand." According to the opposing side, a maximum of 50 percent is possible. "It will be difficult", said lawyer hacker. This line had been set by the board of directors of the liability insurance company.
The chairman of the chamber made it clear where the journey was headed. "The half or less is not appropriate to the current state of affairs and the litigation risk", emphasized matt. He considered damages of between 50 and 75 percent to be appropriate.
Otherwise it goes on
The parties have three weeks for their supreme court settlement negotiations. If it’s nothing, then the process continues.