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Williamsport couple suing county

July 16, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

A Williamsport couple upset over the cutting down of trees and the construction of a drainage swale on their property filed a $200,000 lawsuit Tuesday against Washington County.

The suit, brought by attorneys for Samuel and Evelyn Dixon, of 11016 Hickory School Road, alleges that Dean Lowry, an employee of the county engineering department, made false statements about construction the county planned on a portion of the Dixons' 14-acre property near Williamsport.

In the summer of 1994, Lowry said the county sought temporary and permanent easements across the Dixons' property, according to the suit.

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The Dixons told Lowry that they needed to cross Semple Run to reach the northern five acres of the property, according to the suit. Lowry told them that the modifications would not affect their ability to move people and equipment to the north side, according to allegations contained in the suit.

The county, in the summer of 1995, constructed a drainage swale that was deep enough to prevent the Dixons from driving over, the suit contends.

Lowry also told the couple that only one of their trees would be taken by construction; in fact, at least 12 were cut, the suit alleges.

While they were paid $15,700 for the easement, the compensation did not include value of the trees or the lost use of the five acres on the north side of Semple Run, according to the suit.

Russell R. Marks, a lawyer for the Dixons, declined to comment.

Washington County Attorney Richard Douglas was not available for comment.

Lowry said he hadn't been served with the suit yet and said any comment would have to come from Douglas.

The suit asks for $100,000 for alleged fraud, because of false statements Lowry is accused of making.

"At the time the statements were made, the defendants knew of the falsity of the statements, or made the statements with reckless indifference to the truth," the suit claims.

The suit also seeks $100,000 for alleged "negligent misrepresentation." It said the defendants "owing the plaintiffs a duty of a care, were negligent in making the misrepresentation."

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