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Woman Sues City over Sewage Injuries


Posted: April 9, 2007 05:54 PM
Jim Mendoza – [email protected]

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Fallout from last year’s massive discharge of sewage into the Ala Wai is surfacing in court. Waikiki resident Lisa Kennedy is suing the city. She claims it failed to warn her during last year’s huge sewage discharge into the Ala Wai canal. Kennedy’s attorney said the water was loaded with human waste.

“It’s hurtful, embarrassing, humiliating, degrading,” Kennedy said.

“This isn’t a close call,” said her attorney, Rick Fried. “It’s hundreds of times the allowable limit.”

The lawsuit states Kennedy got a coral cut on her buttocks while she was surfing near the Hilton Hawaiian Village four days after the sewage pour began. Fried said no warning signs were posted at the surf spot known as “Kaisers.”

“If this had been posted within even several days of when they knew of these astronomical levels, Lisa wouldn’t have gotten injured,” he said.

But the city disagrees, saying it posted warning signs “in areas that it believed would be affected by the spill… including Kaisers.”

Kennedy said she was hospitalized for two weeks. “Eventually they deemed me as un-repairable and the surgeon had to go out and triple the length of the wound in order to remove the tracks that were underneath my skin,” she said.

Kennedy said she was infected with four types of fecal bacteria. She was out of work for six months. She said her body’s disfigured and she’s still in pain.

“You have to protect the people that are swimming,” Fried said. “It’s unfortunate but this is an unprecedented spill of sewage.”

The city denies liability for Kennedy’s injuries. The suit seeks reimbursement for lost wages, medical bills and legal costs. Fried declined to give a dollar amount, but said it’s in the six-figure range.

“I’m still trying to recover physically and financially,” Kennedy said. “I’m still under a doctor’s care and anticipating further surgery.”