In this file photo from August, a team of volunteers works to remove mud, logs and other debris from the site where Christine McGraw's house once stood. McGraw's house was destroyed by the Aug. 18 landslide that killed three men, two of whom were inside her house painting at the time of the slide.

In this file photo from August, a team of volunteers works to remove mud, logs and other debris from the site where Christine McGraw's house once stood. McGraw's house was destroyed by the Aug. 18 landslide that killed three men, two of whom were inside her house painting at the time of the slide.

House owner sues over Sitka landslide loss

The owner of the house at 410 Kramer Ave. that was destroyed by the Aug. 18, 2015, landslide has filed a suit for damages against Sound Development, LLC.

Christine McGraw alleges that Sound Development should have been aware of the potential hazards of building at the site of its Woodbury Subdivision, where her house was located, but did not conduct tests or warn potential buyers of the condition of the land.

Three men were killed in the landslide, triggered by heavy rains, that destroyed the house that McGraw was building on the lot she purchased from Sound Development on July 28, 2014.

The suit seeks damages “believed to be in excess of $100,000, the exact amount to be proven at trial.”

The three counts of the lawsuit allege breach of the Alaska Uniform Land Sales Practices Act, breach of contract, and fraud.

It states that Sound Development owners Todd Fleming and Jeremy Twaddle attended a Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 17, 2013, at which a city engineer “expressed concern regarding inadequate drainage studies” on the proposed site of the Woodbury Subdivision.

It also noted that tests conducted previously in connection with the city’s placement of a water tank in the area “concluded the soil consisted of landslide and volcanic ash deposits and was thus unstable.”

Also, a 1983 report by the state Department of Natural Resources noted “a high likelihood of landslides in the area and that proper studies should be conducted in high risk areas,” the lawsuit says.

The suit alleges that Sound Development failed to comply with the Alaska Uniform Land Sales Practices Act in failing to disclose “conditions of the property that were known to it or would have been known through the exercise of reasonable care.”

The suit was filed Dec. 4, 2015, in Sitka Superior Court by McGraw’s attorney, Raymond H. Royce of Anchorage.

Sound Development co-owner Jeremy Twaddle said today he had no comment on the lawsuit at this time.

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