Houston Flood Lawsuits: The Controlled Release of Waters During Hurricane Harvey

Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation Claims in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Controlled Release of Water from the Addicks/Barker Reservoirs and Lake Conroe

The wrath of Hurricane Harvey was felt across the city of Houston and beyond in late August. While Hurricane Harvey would certainly fall under the “Acts of God” category, city officials took specific actions during the hurricane which many residents in the areas believed to be unnecessary governmental acts—actions which flooded previously un-flooded homes with swirling, muddy waters.

As Hurricane Harvey raged, and residents of Southeast Texas scrambled to find safe shelter, late-night news releases were issued which told residents in the Addicks/Barker reservoir area as well as those in proximity to Lake Conroe, that “controlled” releases of water would soon occur. Although these flood water releases were deemed necessary by officials, those decisions would soon find disfavor with those whose homes now had several feet of water inside. In fact, lawsuits claiming inverse condemnation have already been filed, and it is expected many more such lawsuits will follow.

 

Are You a Victim of Inverse Condemnation?

The Addicks/Barker reservoir releases flooded many homes in Houston’s Memorial area, while the Lake Conroe release affected Kingwood residents and those in some northeast Harris County communities as well. All those in the areas south of the Addicks Reservoir, east of the barker Reservoir, any downstream resident who was affected by the Buffalo Bayou’s rising waters, and those in the Lake Conroe area, might be entitled to file a Houston flood lawsuit, claiming inverse condemnation.

Those who owned property which was not flooded after Hurricane Harvey, then took on several feet of water after the Harris County Flood Control District, the City of Houston and the San Jacinto River Authority officials performed a controlled water release, could be entitled to compensation. Although government officials claimed the controlled release of water during Hurricane Harvey was necessary, those in the area were nonetheless harmed by the waters released.

 

Could You Be Entitled to File a Houston Flood Lawsuit?

The current Houston flood lawsuits are seeking damage for inverse condemnation—the government’s intentional “taking” of property by flooding. These lawsuits seek recovery for the repair costs for flooding damages, diminishment of property value, lost income for the owners of the property, and other consequential losses due to the flooding. Lawsuits similar to these were filed following Hurricane Katrina, with a class action being certified by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

 

How a Houston Inverse Condemnation Attorney Can Help

Inverse condemnation is the “taking” of a property—without following the laws of eminent domain—which so greatly damages the use of the property, that it is equivalent to condemning the entire property. Therefore, the owner of the property may claim he or she is entitled to payment for the whole or partial loss of the property. The flooding of these properties which had not been flooded by Hurricane Harvey are a classic example of inverse condemnation. If you are one of those adversely affected by the controlled release of water during Hurricane Harvey, it could be beneficial for you to speak to an inverse condemnation attorney, and possibly file a Houston flood lawsuit to recoup your losses. A knowledgeable Houston flood attorney can represent you in court and pursue damages on your behalf.

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

Andrew SulloAndrew Sullo

Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2017. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice.

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