Families file suit against state over sinkhole in Blackhawk

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KBHB) – Homeowners affected by the Black Hawk sinkhole from past gypsum mining are banding together to sue the state, Meade County, and individuals involved in the development and sale of that property for 75-million dollars.

The suit seeks over $35-million in compensatory damages, and $40-million in exemplary damages. The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial. John Fitzgerald of Rapid City is the attorney for the homeowners.

A 32-page document, dated May 24, outlines 15 counts of negligence and endangerment against a host of defendents. The document gets officially filed in circuit court today.

The document names the governments, people and companies involved in the current housing development, and outlines the use of the land for mining dating back to 1891. It also specifies the mining done on the land by the state, and by private companies, as well as the chain of knowledge of the unreclaimed underground cavity which they say has posed an ongoing public danger for decades.

A total of 15 families have been evacuated from homes over the underground cavity since a sinkhole opened up in late April.