Total compensation for upstream property owners may reach, exceed $1.67 billion
HOUSTON – The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has issued a long-awaited ruling providing guidance on the amount of compensation for property owners upstream of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs who suffered flood damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The ruling by Senior Judge Charles F. Lettow, including interest, resulted in an award of almost $550,000 for the six test cases.
The compensation ruling factored in amounts for the decrease in real property value, the “damage or destruction” of personal property, and the costs being displaced. The biggest awards went to flood victims who suffered structural flooding and damage during Harvey, with the largest award of just over $195,000 before interest. After interest, the average award for flooded homes calculates at roughly $130 per square foot of flooded interior. The ruling and the judgment are available here and here.
“I am grateful that we have achieved this result after so much effort. These awards will be a huge help for our clients,” says lead counsel Daniel Charest of Burn Charest LLP. “I hope this result can help achieve as good or better results for the other upstream flood victims going forward.”
Mr. Charest notes that applying the average per-flooded-house award across an estimated 10,000 homes could result in total compensation of roughly $1.67 billion before interest. He says that because of the nature of the calculation it may not be appropriate to apply average numbers directly to a home’s pre-flood value. And he points out that interest on the amount due runs from the date of the flood until the government pays.
Mr. Charest reminds upstream property owners to file a claim before the statute of limitations passes. “The six-year anniversary of Harvey is August 2023,” said Mr. Charest. “And we are encouraging all upstream flood victims to preserve their claims by filing a lawsuit before that anniversary.”
Other documents and information about the litigation can be found at www.insideaddicksbarker.com.