On September 5, 2017, in light of the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey, four Houston residents filed a putative class action suit in Texas state court, alleging that both the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District deliberately released large amounts of water from two area reservoirs, which resulted in the flooding of surrounding homes and businesses.
The potential class would include thousands of residential and commercial property owners in the Buffalo Bayou neighborhood. The suit claims that properties in the Buffalo Bayou area had not experienced any flooding from Harvey, but rather were flooded only after the city and county approved a controlled release of the Barker and Addicks reservoirs. Plaintiffs argue that the flooding could have been avoided had the defendants taken the proper steps to prepare the reservoir for the possibility of flooding. The complaint also insists that the defendant city and county were very much aware of the inadequacies of the reservoirs, pointing to an Army Corps of Engineers report that rated the city’s dams and spillways at an extremely high risk of flooding.
Plaintiffs are seeking damages for the government’s intentional taking of the plaintiffs’ property through flooding. Further damages include recovery for repair costs, recovery for the devaluation of property, lost income and any consequential loss due to the flooding. The complaint alleges that damages will exceed the $1 million requirement for class action suits in the districts citing to the results of similar suits that were filed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Case is: Val Anthony Aldred et al. v. Harris County Flood Control District et al., Case No.: 2017-57831, in the District Court of Harris County Texas
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