Beacon Hill Homeowners Who Discovered Void On Property Settle With Sound Transit

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Beacon Hill homeowners who discovered void on property settle with Sound Transit.

Sound Transit and Christine Miller-Panganiban and Rommel Panganiban have reached a settlement of all claims arising from the damage to their property and the toll on their family as a result of two large voids/sinkholes related to Sound Transit’s northbound tunneling for the Beacon Hill Station light rail line. The Miller-Panganibans retained the civil litigation firm of Dearmin Fogarty PLLC (http://www.dearminfogarty.com) to represent them with respect to their claims.

The Miller-Panganiban home is located directly above the northbound tunnel for the Sound Transit light rail, near the Beacon Hill station. In March 2009, Ms. Miller-Panganiban was gardening when she discovered a mysterious, bottomless hole under her daughter’s bedroom that turned out to be a void caused by Sound Transit’s tunneling. The Seattle Times reported the story here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009180823_hole06m0.html. The first void turned out to be about 21-feet deep and it required about 23 truckloads or about 230 cubic yards of fill. Investigation revealed a second large void under the home, which required about 17 truckloads of fill. Investigation and remediation work continues today in the neighborhood. The Seattle Times reported on the ongoing work here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011322648_void12m.html.

Since discovering the first void, the Miller-Panganibans have watched with dismay as the house they have loved and owned since 1988 has developed cracks in the foundation, plaster and around window and door jambs, cracks that have continued to widen over time. Their house has started listing to the north, with floors heaving and tilting. On June 22, 2010, the Seattle Times reported in a Highway 99 tunnel project story about the Miller-Panganiban property, “Sound Transit’s narrower Beacon Hill Tunnel, drilled by a Japanese-led consortium, left voids in the soil, one of which nearly ruined a house because of errors in supervising the rate of soil removal.” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012182436_tunneling23m.html.

As of September 24, 2010, Sound Transit and the Miller-Panganibans have entered into a final settlement of their claims arising from Sound Transit’s tunneling and remediation work. By the express terms of the settlement, Sound Transit does not admit or concede liability nor does it admit the merits of the Miller-Panganibans’ claims. Christine Miller-Panganiban, however, states, “Discovering the void and living with drilling, filling and ongoing investigation has been a nightmare for our entire family for well over a year. We are extremely relieved to reach an agreement with Sound Transit without the need for time-consuming and expensive litigation.“ Diana Dearmin, the lead Dearmin Fogarty attorney on the matter, expressed that her firm “is pleased to have assisted the Miller-Panganiban family in resolving this dispute and hopes that no other property owners have to endure what they have undergone.”

Dearmin Fogarty PLLC is a civil litigation firm that represents businesses, public entities, and individuals in a broad range of civil disputes in the federal and state courts throughout Washington, including claims arising from damage to real property. For more information, visit http://www.dearminfogarty.com.

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Nancy King
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