Grand Rapids, MI asked in Energy, Oil and Gas and Municipal Law for Florida

Q: What obligations do Municipalities have to locate and mark abandoned underground utilities for contractors?

I am a contractor for a large utility company and on a recent job i absorbed a tremendous amount of profit loss because a local municipality did not locate abandoned underground utilities in an easement. By not doing so it cost us to go over our budget. Is there any way to hold them accountable? I reached out to the Director of public works about this issue and his response was that it is not their general practice to locate abandoned utilities.

1 Lawyer Answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick

Answered
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Your best (only) bet is to complain about this situation to a few members of the city council and ask them how to file a "complaint" about the incident. Most if not all municipal governments carry liability insurance to avoid having to pay "damages" for not doing their job: maintaining all city utilities regardless of whether they abandoned them.

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