Despite Shutdown, Trial on Hurricane Harvey Flooding Claims to Proceed

A federal judge has ruled that Harris County property owners upstream from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs whose homes and businesses flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey will have their day in court next month.

Senior Judge Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has denied the government’s request to delay the upcoming trial due to the current federal shutdown. The trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 19 in Washington, D.C.

“The partial lapse in appropriations affects the Department of Justice and may affect some potential witnesses, but it does not affect the Army Corps of Engineers, nor does it currently affect this court,” said Judge Lettow in his order.

An estimated 8,000-10,000 properties flooded upstream of the government-run dams to the west of Houston. The case involves plaintiffs who allege the actions of the Army Corps of Engineers and its design of the reservoirs failed to adequately protect their property, resulting in an unlawful taking.

“It’s clear that the Corps has been aware for years that its reservoirs and management plans would result in the flooding of private property, which is exactly what happened in August of 2017,” says co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs Daniel Charest of Burns Charest LLP. “We’re gratified that the court continues to allow us to pursue these important claims, and we intend to obtain ‘just compensation’ for the many hundreds of millions of dollars in private property taken by the federal government.”

For more information, please contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or

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