Westmere Group Inc. v. Town of Darien
A court can prevent an entity from disconnecting a sewer line, until the entity elects to transfer ownership or authority to operate the sewer line to the municipality. The plaintiff, Westmere Group Inc., developed a subdivision for which septic systems would not have been adequate. It decided to construct a sewer line that would service the properties in the subdivision. In 1999, the plaintiff entered into a developer's agreement with the defendant municipality. Work on the sewer line to service the properties in the subdivision was not finished until 2005. The following year, the municipality constructed a sewer line that connected to the plaintiff's sewer line. The plaintiff sued the municipality, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. A jury awarded $118,987 on unjust enrichment. The plaintiff moved for court permission to disconnect the municipal extension from the sewer line. The municipality requested an injunction, to prevent disconnection, and offered to take ownership or, alternatively, responsibility for operation of the sewer line. The court found no basis to grant the plaintiff's motion. "[T]o the extent that plaintiff has tried to claim that its permission was needed before the town could connect," wrote the court, "the jury's refusal to find a breach of contract by the town necessarily included (by implication) a rejection of that contention." The court ordered the municipality to reimburse the plaintiff for 50 percent of electric, water and gas charges. The court granted the defendant municipality's motion for an injunction to require the plaintiff to operate the sewer line, until the plaintiff transfers ownership or the authority to operate the sewer line to the municipality.