NORTH WOODSTOCK — While property owners are pointing their fingers at the nearby ice castle for flooding their basement last spring, counsel for the popular attraction, now in its second year on Clark Farm Road, says extreme wet weather, the town and a neighbor may be to blame.
Daniel and Kelly Trinkle of Bedford also own a house at 154 Lost River Road in Woodstock that they say was flooded, beginning last April 18, as the nearby ice castle was melting.
In a lawsuit filed May 10, 2019, in Grafton County Superior Court, the Trinkles allege that Utah-based Ice Castles LLC was negligent, created a nuisance, and committed trespass when water came off the Ice Castles property and onto theirs.
The flooding arose from the castle’s “alteration of the terrain on the defendant’s property, diverting normal surface water flows and causing huge amounts of water to flow onto plaintiff’s property, ultimately ending up in plaintiff’s basement,” up to a depth of a foot at one point, the lawsuit says.
The Trinkles are asking for a jury trial and $100,000 in damages, alleging that while both Ice Castles and the Town of Woodstock tried to mitigate the flooding, the couple nonetheless was “physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted” after the experience.
The husband and wife said they suffered “physical pain, including sore backs, necks, arms and hands” in cleaning up the flooding and trying to prevent more of it, as well as an “inability to eat or sleep from the trauma, outrage and frustration of being unable to protect their home from invasion by water from the IC Site, the lack of timely and adequate response from defendant, and defendant’s refusal to accept responsibility.”
The Trinkles and Ice Castles are scheduled to appear June 3 in court for a trial-management conference.
In response to the Trinkles’ lawsuit, Ice Castles, which is represented by Attorney Courtney Herz, repeatedly said that “the water that flowed onto plaintiff’s property did not come from the IC property.”
Herz added that Ryan Davis, CEO of Ice Castles, in an email exchange with the Trinkles offered to let them use Ice Castles’ water pumps. Davis also suggested they install a ditch “and referenced the particularly rainy conditions combined with snowmelt that the area just experienced,” Herz said.
The response said that “IC denies that plaintiffs are entitled to any of the relief requested” and said the company’s actions “were not the proximate cause of any alleged injury” to the Trinkles.
Instead, said Herz, the town’s replacement of a culvert on Clark Farm Road last April “may have influenced the volume of water that traditionally has flowed through the culvert toward the Trinkles’ property.”
There was also a belief, she said, that landscaping and drainage improvements “on the property neighboring the Trinkles’ current home may have contributed to the water incursion.”