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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawsuit Against City of Bedford Dismissed in Sidewalk and Retaining Wall Collapse

BEDFORD - JUNE 6, 2023 - The lawsuit filed on April 18, 2023, against the City of Bedford has been dismissed by Lawrence County Circuit Judge Nathan Nikirk, in the lawsuit filed by Matthew Disbro who resides at 606 18th Street in Bedford.



In Judge Nikirk's ruling on June 5, 2023 states the Plaintiff sued the City of Bedford Mayor Sam Craig, Bedford Planning Director Brandon Woodward, and City of Bedford seeking an injunction and monetary relief under the theory that the City of Bedford breached its duty to maintain the retaining wall between his property located at 606 18th Street and sidewalk which is Bedford's property.


Mr. Disbro alleges that the retaining wall collapsed on July 2, 2021, causing damage to his property and creating a nuisance as a result.



The Indiana Tort Claims Act provides that a tory claim against the government entity is barred unless the claimant provides the entity with notice of the claim within 180 days of the loss. See Indiana Code 34-13-3-8. and Indiana Code 34-13-3-1. Bedford is a "political subdivision" and thus entitled to a notice of tort claim under Indiana Code 34-13-3-8.


Mr. Disbro failed to provide Bedford with a notice of tort claim within 180 days after the loss triggering event. The triggering event or loss, occurred on July 2, 2021 when the retaining wall collapsed.


Mr. Disbro cited two cases - Lawrence County Commissioners vs Chorley, 398 N.E. 2d 694 ( Ind. App. 1979) and Delaware County vs Powell, 272 Ind 82, 393 N.E. 2d 190 (1979) - to argue that Mr. Disbro substantially complied with the ITCA. These cases involve circumstances involving estoppel or waiver.


Even so, the Supreme Court has more recently clarified that substantial compliance cannot exist when the claimant took no steps whatsoever to comply with the notice statue.


Mr. Disbro's email even as represented by Mr. Disbro, cannot suffice as an attempt to satisfy the notice statue as it admittedly makes no reference of an intent to file a tort claim against the City of Bedford or anyone else. This being the "crucial consideration" in providing notice.


The court hereby dismisses Mr. Disbro's Verified Petition with prejudice. A final judgment is here by entered in favor of the City of Bedford.


The City of Bedford has exempted some developers from building sidewalks in their housing developments long after the city has changed its transportation policy of requiring the developers from installing the sidewalks.


In addition, city ordinance required residents to maintain the sidewalk in front of their residence including snow removal.


Other locations along busy 29th Street on the south end of Bedford City limits and in area on the north side of Bedford does not have sidewalks.


For breaking news, news and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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