OK heres my 2 cents.
First off and an answer to your question, NO one other than the homeowner is liable for sewer repairs that go awry if there is a broken pipe.
Now broken may be a relative term to you but to me, a person in this business a long time, a broken pipe is any pipe that has an opening to the outside of said pipe. If any roots are in the pipe, it has to be broken.
It sounds like you have a whole neighborhood of broken pipes. This does not mean that it is normal, it means the whole neighborhood has sewer problems that can only be fixed by repairing or replacing pipe. If a sewer rod gets stuck in a pipe because of it catching on an old sewer rod, roots, dirt, anything. It is the responibility of the owner to bite the bullet and fix it right.
Did you really think it would be right to have roto rooter come in now and replace your sewer to the street at no charge. Give me a break.
The Local Plumber
Tustin, California http://www.TheLocalPlumber.com
» This message has been edited by TheLocalPlumber on 23 September 2002