Family member receives $100,000 for landslide loss

Legal representatives for USU and all other parties involved in the Logan landslide lawsuit met on Wednesday to reach a global settlement in which all plaintiffs and respondents agree on terms.”We all agreed to put aside our arguments and facts and came up with a settlement that, after hours of negotiations, the plaintiffs agreed to,” said USU risk management attorney Joe Dulin. “We all felt that the most important thing was to bring closure to the family.”Prior to the discovery portion of the legal process, when all sides meet to share the grounds for their cases, a mediation was held at which experienced trial lawyer and mediator Paul Felt presided, Dulin said.Dulin said he thinks that the parties being sued, USU, UDOT, Logan City, Logan Northern Irrigation Company and the landowner all wanted to do what was right and avoid dragging things out several years in court.”Despite the fact that individually we each had our own cases to make as to whether we were liable at all, we decide that it was probably in the best interest of everybody, especially the family, if we could just get together and come up with a settlement,” Dulin said.Abbey Alanis and Victor Alanis Jr., along with their mother Jacqueline Leavey, were killed as the result of a tragic landslide that demolished their home and buried them in mud and debris.The landslide occurred in the Island neighborhood near 915 Canyon Road which is just below the bluff where USU is located. Precipitation caused the Logan, Hyde Park and Smithfield canal wall to give way, causing the accident.”We feel terrible for the family and we’re glad we were able to help,” Dulin said. “I can’t discuss numbers, but USU chipped in the smallest portion. We were deemed to have the least likelihood of liability.”Plaintiff Victor Alanis, the father of the deceased children, will receive a combined total of more than $100,000 from UDOT and USU alone, as long as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert approves the amount, Dulin said. An approval is necessary for sums of money exceeding $100,000. “I think the governor is going to see it like we do, that it’s in the best interest of everybody just to pay some money now and move on from this,” Dulin said.As for the area where the landslide occurred, Public Works Director Mark Nielsen said Logan City purchased it since the landowners likely wouldn’t be able to sell it. The road along the properties has been closed off and on recent days construction equipment can be seen at work during the day.”The reason the road has been closed is because we’ve been demolishing the houses that the city purchased,” Nielsen said. “What we’re doing is opening that up and there is a potential that it could be a park in the future.”For now the space will at least remain an open space. Nielsen said the existing memorial for the victims of the landslide will continue to be preserved there.– dan.whitney.smith@aggiemail.usu.edu

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