An Ingram Couple Is Suing Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Several Property Owners in Duquesne Heights, Alleging They Are Responsible for a Landslide That Destroyed Their Home on Greenleaf Street in 2018 [Derived Headline]

By Bauder, Bob | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 29, 2019 | Go to article overview

An Ingram Couple Is Suing Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Several Property Owners in Duquesne Heights, Alleging They Are Responsible for a Landslide That Destroyed Their Home on Greenleaf Street in 2018 [Derived Headline]


Bauder, Bob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


An Ingram couple is suing Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and several property owners in Duquesne Heights, alleging they are responsible for a landslide that destroyed their home on Greenleaf Street in 2018.

Beth and Charles Butler contend they contacted the city repeatedly starting in 2015 about fallen trees and slides from the top of Mt. Washington and Emeraldview Park, both of which were located above their home. Emeraldview, which is owned by the city, surrounds the Butler's property, according to their attorney, Todd Elliott.

A large section of the hillside collapsed in February 2018 and buried the Butler's home of 35 years. City officials evacuated the Butlers two days before the slide.

The lawsuit filed last month alleges city officials knew about the problem, yet did nothing to prevent the landslide.

"The city gave them some assurances," Elliott said. "They said they were hiring an engineer, etc., etc., but the Butlers never heard from the city."

Water running from Emeraldview and properties owned by Joseph and Ruth Ann Martinelli, Paul Gitnik and Gene Svrcek contributed to the slide, according to the lawsuit. It also contends that illegal dumping on the Martinelli property contributed.

Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, declined comment as did attorney John Kwsaneski, who represents the parks conservancy. Attorney's for the Martinelli's, Gitnik and Svrcek did not return calls seeking comment.

Gitnik, an attorney and administrative law judge for the Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Review and former Pittsburgh Planning Commissioner, said he reduced stormwater runoff from his property when building his house several years ago. …

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