A group of homeowners in Texas and Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against the Sabine River Authority over damage to their homes caused by recent flooding in March. The lawsuit alleges that the SRA’s decision to release millions of gallons of water from a spillway on the Sabine River caused damage to their property that constitutes an illegal taking that entitles them to damages.
According to the lawsuit, the Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana received 18 inches of rain over a three day period in March 2016. During this record rainfall, the Sabine River Authorities in Texas and Louisiana made the decision to open the spillways on the reservoir in order to protect the integrity of the dam. At the peak, nine of the dam’s spillway gates were opened 22 feet, sending more than 200,000 cubic feet of water per second downstream —twice the discharge rate of Niagara Falls.
The water that was released from the Toledo Bend Reservoir caused flood damage to hundreds of homes in Texas and Louisiana. The lawsuit filed by about 450 of these homeowners against the SRA alleges that the agency’s decision to release water from the Toledo Bend Reservoir constitutes an illegal taking of their private property.
Legal experts commenting on the homeowners’ water damage lawsuit against the SRA say that there is some legal precedent for their allegations that flooding as a result of the Toledo Bend Reservoir spillway release constitutes a taking of their property. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case filed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding a temporary flood regime that caused flooding that restricted access to and/or damaged thousands of timber trees in the state.
The Supreme Court ruled that the flood regime could be considered a taking under federal law and sent the case back to a lower court for further consideration. Experts say that because the Supreme Court did not specify the exact conditions under which flooding could be considered a taking, it is difficult to speculate how the Texas and Louisiana homeowners’ lawsuit against the SRA will be decided.
Texas Water Damage Lawsuits Filed by HO&P
Although many cases of damage to private property are caused by storms or flooding, water damage can also occur due to the intentional diversion of water from the property of a neighbor or nearby business. The Texas Water Code contains specific rules regarding water damage to another person’s property caused by diverting or impounding water.
Property owners who have experienced water damage to their home, land, or other property as a result of water damage may qualify to file a lawsuit and seek compensation from the parties responsible for this damage. If your home or property has suffered water damage as a result of wrongful actions on the part of a neighbor, nearby business, or property owner, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with a law firm that has the experience and knowledge to successfully handle lawsuits involving water damage in the State of Texas.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have years of experience in lawsuits involving commercial disputes, insurance claims, and other legal matters. In January 2015, our law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas homeowners whose property was damaged as a result of water damage and flooding caused by a neighboring landowner. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has also represented other parties in disputes regarding water damage and the illegal diversion of water.
For a free legal consultation from our attorneys and to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a water damage claim, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following this link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your case to get started.