|Thompson & Knight Attorneys James B. Harris, Richard B. Phillips, Hunter M. Barrow and Wade Johnson Noted as Counsel in Law360 article |
Railway Cos. Attack Houston's Drainage Fee Assessments
|October 24, 2012 11:59 pm|
Law360, Houston (October 24, 2012, 3:41 PM ET) -- BNSF Railway Co. and others sued the city of Houston in Texas state court Monday in a bid to block a newly-enacted drainage fee that the railway companies claim is being unfairly assessed on large swaths of property that do not use municipal drainage capacity.
BNSF, Houston Belt & Terminal Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad Co., which operate 90 percent of the rail lines in Houston, say that the majority of their real estate either drains into local bayous or absorbs rainwater, and they should not have to pay what will amount to a $3 million annual fee.
"The drainage ordinance imposes a drainage fee on the railroads independent of their use of the city's drainage system meaning there is no relationship between the fee imposed on the railroads and the cost to the city of providing them drainage service," the complaint said.
When they raised their objections to the fee, the railroads' say the city responded by threatening to cut off water service for refusing to pay the fee.
Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.
The case is Houston Belt & Terminal Railway Co. et al. v. City of Houston et al., case number 2012-62909, in the 61st Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.
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