HOUSTON – Lawyers representing homeowners, businesses, and homeowners associations located upstream of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs in Houston, whose properties were flooded in Hurricane Harvey, have filed an amended complaint with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The lawsuit details how the Army Corps of Engineers knew, years in advance, that land upstream was likely to be destroyed by flood water in a severe storm.
Learn more about the legal case here.
The likelihood of widespread flooding and damage was a surprise to the homeowners who bought properties west of Houston, but it was no surprise at all to the Corps, which knew that area would flood, says attorney Charles Irvine of Irvine & Conner PLLC in Houston, who represents individual homeowners, businesses, and homeowners associations in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the United States. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has appointed Mr. Irvine, along with attorneys Daniel Charest and Larry Vincent of Burns Charest LLP in Dallas, to three of six leadership positions representing upstream flood victims in the case. The Corps of Engineers built these two reservoirs and the dams that go with them, but it failed to buy up enough land that the Corps’ own studies showed would flood, and failed to warn property owners of the danger, Mr. Charest says. Those people who built their homes and businesses in that area are the folks we represent. As reported in the Houston Chronicle in a January 17 article, the lawsuit highlights how modifications to the dams in the 1980s created the possibility that pools of water collecting behind them could grow even larger, causing even more damage.
Plaintiff Christina Micu told the paper, For a while, I was crying every day for a couple of months. According to the complaint, Ms. Micu is still living in an apartment and has been unable to move back into her home. The legal case seeks compensation for homeowners and businesses based on a portion of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars the government from taking property without compensating those affected. Thousands of homes and businesses in Houston flooded in August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 30 inches of rain on the area.
The case is In re Upstream Addicks and Barker (Texas) Flood-Control Reservoirs, No. 1:17-cv-09001 in the U.S. Court of Federal claims. The attorneys at Irvine & Conner PLLC represent clients in cases involving environmental and land use law. More information is available at www.irvineconner.com. Burns Charest is a Dallas and New Orleans-based trial law firm with a national practice representing consumers and businesses. To learn more, visit http://www.burnscharest.com.