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Contractor Off The Hook When Phone Company Unreasonably Buries Cables In Harm's Way

Friday, February 12, 2010 03:03 am

 

Property Damage

Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. d/b/a AT&T Kansas v.

The Supreme Court of Kansas reversed a district court decision holding a contractor responsible for damaging a utility's property. The utility had failed to uphold its duty of reasonableness in carrying out a city request to move its facilities within a right of way.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) hired Beachner Construction Company, Inc. (Beachner) to tear down and widen McKay Street in Frontenac, Kansas. As part of this project, Beachner also installed a storm sewer. The KDOT construction plans specified that the sewer be buried four feet and 11 inches below the surface, sloping to a depth of five feet and one inch. The plans allowed only a two-inch deviation from these depths. The plans called for Beachner to bury the sewer line in a public right of way that already contained an underground telephone cable belonging to Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. d/b/a [...]

 
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