Two lawsuits that were filed following a canal breach that killed a mother and her two children in 2009 have been settled. A wrongful death suit was filed in a state court against the City of Logan, Logan and Northern Irrigation Co., Utah State University, the Utah Department of Transportation and Eric Ashcroft, alleging the entities were aware of a dangerous condition, but failed to take adequate action. The city, UDOT and the company own and operate the canal and land around it and USU owns the hillside. Victor Alanis’ two children and his wife died when the canal above their home broke July 11, 2009, sending a torrent of water and mud down the hillside. Mr. Alanis was away from home at the time.
Mr. Alanis reached agreements in late February with all the Defendants except Ashcroft, who owns the rental home involved in the incident. It was alleged that the landslide “flattened” the residence and buried the family alive. Various studies showed the bluff that held a portion of the Logan Northern Canal was hazardous and prone to landslides. Despite being notified in the days before the excessive water and runoff breached the canal, the Defendants failed to adequately inspect the area or warn residents of the potential danger.
A next-door neighbor also filed a lawsuit against the city, the canal company and UDOT after his home was damaged. He settled his claim in late March. It was alleged in this suit that the city and UDOT knew for years of a potential canal failure, but did not warn homeowners. The house was flooded on two levels with runoff from the canal break. Debris from the ensuing mudslide filled the kitchen, living room, family room and basement.
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