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Texas Homeowners Seek $50M in Damages over Flooded Properties

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On August 19, 2019, punitive class claims were filed in Texas District Court against Enterprise Products Partners LP, Oiltanking Partners LP and CenterPoint Energy. alleging that the defendants’ actions severely damaged class members’ property and diminished property values in surrounding areas.

In the complaint, named plaintiffs Mary Evans and Don Weston Dorrell allege that in 2015, the defendants installed a pipeline on a CenterPoint easement, located in Channelview, Texas, which diverted the natural flow of surface waters away from the easement and onto residential properties. Affected properties included those within the Sterling Green, Sterling Green South, Sterling Forest, Overbluff Meadows and Channelwood neighborhoods. Plaintiffs claimed that at the time of the pipeline installation, they could feel vibrations from several blocks away from the construction site, as excavated soil was forcefully compacted back onto the pipeline trench. However, Defendants did not fill in the trench with new soil to match the original topsoil composition and structure. Plaintiffs argued that the excavated soil was returned to to the trench resulting in the surface of the pipeline easement becoming covered in hardened clay (naturally present in subsurface layers in the area at issue).

Within two years of the construction on the pipeline easement, the plaintiffs noticed significant flooring on their properties and in surrounding neighborhoods. Plaintiffs also claimed that affected areas have experienced falling trees, buckling sidewalks, sinking terrain and cracked walls. In addition, grounds in the area are said to remain saturated and swampy for days and weeks following heavy precipitation.

The suit brings causes of action for negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, negligent hiring, supervision, training, retraining, private nuisance and fraud by nondisclosure. Plaintiffs further allege that defendants’ actions were done knowingly, with actual awareness, malice and intent, and with a conscious indifference to the rights, welfare and safety of the plaintiffs or class members. As a result, Plaintiffs are seeking $50 million in damages.

The case is: Mary Evans et al. v. Enterprise Products Partners LP et al., Case No.: 2019-57694, in the 127th District Court in Harris County, Texas.

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