Snohomish County, Washington
I am the owner of a housing development and have had endless problems with the local water authority, which oversees water and sewer installs.
Early in the project I asked a number of technical questions of the authority's manager on their requirements, because I was anxious to do it right. When an inspector was assigned I asked similar questions but got different answers. I expressed concerns about this conflicting advice... and ever since have had extreme difficulty in getting inspections passed, and requirements have been made which are well beyond those required of others, judging from responses by underground utilities contractors I know.
Well so I just spent the money to comply and didn't complain. Until my inspector came up with changes to the plans which are considerably different from those approved by the water authority's own State-licensed engineer. (a PE) This brought my multi-million dollar project to a standstill, as not only do these new requirements conflict with approved plans, but render the water system unmaintainable. I realize that this is hard to believe, but it happened. I have never said a cross word, questioned anyone's authority, nor instigated such hyperbolic responses in any other way. They certainly would have brought it up during this process if I had.
At this point I escalated to the inspector's, manager's, boss. (It was made clear to me by the inspector that his manager was putting intense pressure on him to stymie me) This boss visited my site with the inspector, and proposed a solution to the (fake) problem which I accepted. But afterward the inspector then made a requirement which rendered the water system again unmaintainable. I appealed again to the boss but got no response.
Stuck, at this point I filed a Notice of Claim with the water authority, asking for damages for costs imposed on me over and above the normal course of business (such requirements not being a part of the approved plans) and for a mandate from the General Manager (the boss' boss) that his subordinates stick to their own licensed engineer's approved plans. I gave them a deadline of this past Monday, but understanding the holidays will allow this week for a response. Nothing so far.
Assuming that I am about to file suit, I will ask for mandamus that the authority revert to the plans approved by their own engineer, for those damages, for punitive damages (as the manager has a reputation far and wide for being 'impossible'),and for lost opportunity and other costs. I'll also file a complaint with the State licensing authority that my inspector is practicing engineering without a license.
I am happy to provide more details, and am looking for constructive suggestions on how I can structure the lawsuit for best effect.