Hurricane Harvey Claim

Houston Residents File Upstream Addicks and Barker Reservoir Flood Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Houston residents against the U.S. government after their homes were flooded by the collection of floodwaters in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

When the reservoirs were constructed, they were designed to hold large amounts of rainwater and they have spillways at fixed elevations. The Addicks reservoir has a spillway at 108 feet and the Barker reservoir has a spillway at 104 feet. The reservoirs have design pool capacities of 115 feet for the Addicks reservoir and 106 feet for the Barker reservoir. All land behind the reservoirs under these elevations is potentially inside the reservoirs and at risk for flooding.

Realizing the reservoirs would occasionally need to store massive amounts of floodwater, the United States government began acquiring property inside the reservoirs in the 1940s. However, the government did not purchase all land inside the reservoirs. Instead, the government only purchased land up to 103.2 feet in elevation behind the Addicks reservoir and up to 95 feet behind the Barker reservoir.

The government did not purchase or otherwise obtain any right in land between 103.2 feet and 115 feet in elevation in the Addicks Reservoir or between 95.5 feet and 106 feet in elevation in the Barker Reservoir, even though it was likely floodwaters would need to be stored on private property within the reservoirs at those elevations.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Addicks and Barker reservoirs captured more than 350,000 acre feet of water to prevent flooding downstream of the reservoirs.

The water level in the Addicks reservoir reached 109.1 feet during Hurricane Harvey. Even though the government only owned property up to, at a maximum, 103.2 feet, they intentionally impounded floodwaters on private properties above 103.2 feet. The water level in the Barker reservoir reached 101.5 feet during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. The government only owned property up to, at a maximum, 95.5 feet, but allowed floodwaters to be stored on properties above 95.5 feet.

The floodwaters stored in both the Addicks and Barker reservoirs exceeded the boundaries of the property owned by the government. Affected property owners at these elevations did not consent to the use of their property for storing floodwaters. As a result, thousands of properties upstream of the reservoirs were flooded in many feet of water.

In addition to flood damage, property owners are left with an increased risk of future flooding and will be unable to rebuild their properties without incurring significant additional expenses. Property owners who wish to transfer or sell their property will likely struggle to do so, or will be unable to do so without taking a significant loss because of the decreased demand for property in the area and the increased difficulty in obtaining flood insurance in the area.

The government allowing floodwaters to be stored above its own designated property boundaries constitutes a taking of private property by the government for public use. Under the Fifth Amendment, property owners must be fairly compensated for the taking of their property.

Get Help Filing Your Hurricane Harvey Claim

If your property is located upstream of the Addicks or Barker reservoirs and was flooded during and after Hurricane Harvey, you have a right to receive just compensation. The Hurricane Harvey lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP are working with property owners across Houston to help them get them the compensation they are legally entitled to. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your claim.

Church Insurance Claim Attorneys

Bexar County Church Files Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit

Our client, a local Texas church, has filed a lawsuit against Church Mutual Insurance Company after its wind and hail damage claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

April 2016 Storm

On April 25, 2016, a wind and hail storm swept through Bexar County and caused significant damage to the roof, exterior, and interior of the church’s property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Church Mutual and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

In response to the claim, Church Mutual assigned representatives, adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, Church Mutual assigned the claim to an internal representative, as the local claims representative charged with assessing damages under the policy.

The internal representative failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim and performed a haphazard inspection of the property. The internal representative failed to acknowledge clear and visible damages to the church and its school’s roof system. The internal representative only estimated damages for the metal components of the roof and to comb out the air conditioning fins. The representative refused to concede the roof system itself had been compromised and that interior damages would clearly continue to occur because Church Mutual did not provide a full roof repair and replacement.

Church Mutual relied on the representative’s substandard investigation in determining what amounts, if any, to pay on the plaintiff’s claim and failed to perform its own investigation. As a result of the haphazard inspection, misrepresentations, and inadequate investigation, Church Mutual ultimately denied the plaintiff’s claim.

Church Mutual Acted In Bad Faith

Our client alleges numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of a claim, and refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Church Insurance Claim Attorneys

Many church owners learn the hard way that insurance companies are sometimes less than honest. If your church or other religious institution suffered property damage, contact the church insurance claim lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP. We are experienced handling insurance cases for religious organizations and other non-profit groups, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve under your policy. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Houston Motel Insurance Lawyers

Houston Motel Owner Files Hail Insurance Denial Claim

Raizner Slania has filed an insurance lawsuit on behalf of a local motel owner against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London after its hail damage claim was wrongfully denied under the Texas Insurance Code.

May 2016 Hailstorm

On May 13, 2016, a hailstorm swept through areas of Houston and caused significant damage to the roof, HVAC, exteriors, and interiors of the property. Immediately upon discovering the damages, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim and asked the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

In response to the claim, Lloyd’s assigned representatives, adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, Lloyd’s assigned the plaintiff’s claim to an internal representative, as the local claims representative charged with assessing damages under the policy. The internal representative was improperly trained and not equipped to handle this type of claim.

The internal representative failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim and performed a substandard inspection of the property. The internal representative failed to provide an estimate or scope of damages to the plaintiff and refused to retain the appropriate consultants to evaluate the claim. In addition, the internal representative delayed the claims process and failed to communicate with the insured.

Lloyd’s relied solely on the representative’s substandard investigation to determine what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result of the representative’s haphazard inspection, misrepresentations, and inadequate investigation, Lloyd’s ultimately denied the plaintiff’s claim.

Lloyd’s Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Lloyd’s committed several violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the investigation of a claim, and refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Houston Motel Insurance Lawyers

The Houston motel insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP are experienced attorneys who have taken on and won large insurance cases against some of the largest insurance companies in the world. If your insurance claim was wrongfully denied, delayed, or underpaid, call us today for a free consultation. We can analyze your situation and help you get the most from your policy.

Hurricane Harvey Reservoir Lawyers

Homeowners’ Association Files Hurricane Harvey Claim

Raizner Slania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a homeowners’ association and individual condominium unit owners after the Addicks and Barker reservoirs releases flooded the multi-family property in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The property consists of 32 individually owned buildings, each with four separate residential units, along with common areas such as a community clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts, gardens, and more.

Dams Were Under Renovation When Hurricane Harvey Hit

In 2009, the dams holding back the Addicks and Barker reservoirs were deemed to be in “extremely high risk of catastrophic failure.” When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in late August 2017, both of the reservoirs and their dam systems were in the middle of a $75 million renovation.

Both the Addicks and Barker reservoirs are “dry reservoirs,” meaning the dams are normally left open. The dams are only closed when the area receives heavy rainfall. The dams were closed as Hurricane Harvey dropped an unprecedented amount of rainfall across the Houston. The reservoirs took on hundreds of acre-feet of water from Harvey’s rainfall and it put tremendous pressure on the dam systems.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the dam systems, and decided to let water pool within the reservoirs, inundating properties upstream of the reservoirs with floodwaters. However, several days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the pressure on the dam systems was so great that the Army Corps of Engineers decided to release floodwaters into Buffalo Bayou, which inundated thousands of homes and businesses downstream of the reservoirs.

Inverse Condemnation and the Fifth Amendment

Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the government is not allowed to take private property for public use without properly compensating property owners. When property owners are not compensated for the taking of their property by the government, it is referred to as inverse condemnation. When the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing the floodwaters from the reservoirs, they did so knowing it would flood thousands of homes and businesses. This constitutes the taking of private property for public use, and property owners have a right to seek fair compensation.

Hurricane Harvey Reservoir Lawyers

If your home or business was left unscathed by Hurricane Harvey, but flooded as a result of the Addicks and Barker reservoir releases, Raizner Slania LLP can help. We’re working with property owners across Houston to get them the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Dallas County Hail Damage Attorneys

Dallas County Condominium Association Files Wind and Hail Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Dallas County condominium association against Peleus Insurance Company, Strata Claims Management, and Engle Martin & Associates. The plaintiff’s wind and hail damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

March 2016 Wind and Hail Storm

On March 23, 2016, a wind and hail storm swept through Dallas County. The storm caused substantial damage to the roofs, exteriors, and interiors of the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Peleus.

In response to the claim, Peleus assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequately and improperly trained. Specifically, Peleus assigned both Strata and Engle Martin to adjust the claim. Strata and Engle Martin in turn assigned the claim to two adjusters.

The adjusters performed a substandard inspection of the property and failed to prepare any estimates or scope of damages or failed to provide them to the plaintiff. Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters continually delayed the claims process and did not communicate with the insured during the process.

Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters deliberately misevaluated the damage by claiming it was cosmetic only, instead of acknowledging the widespread compromising of the roof systems, necessitating full repairs and replacement. The adjusters further caused additional damages themselves at the site inspection by foot damaging unsupported areas of the roofs.

Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters performed an inadequate, incomplete, and unreasonable investigation of the claim. Peleus relied solely on Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters when determining what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result, the plaintiff’s wind and hail damage claim was wrongfully denied.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim and misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff. Additionally, our client alleges violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).

Dallas County Hail Damage Attorneys

Insurance companies use a variety of bad faith tactics to avoid paying out on valid claims. Not only is this wrong, it’s illegal. If your wind and hail damage claim has been denied, delayed, or grossly underpaid, the Dallas County hail damage attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. Our attorneys have helped commercial property owners across the country get their rightful payments under their policies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Barker Reservoir releases

Homeowners File Inverse Condemnation Class Action Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed an inverse condemnation lawsuit on behalf of four homeowners whose homes were flooded by the Addicks and Barker Reservoir releases in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Unprecedented Rainfall From Hurricane Harvey

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast in late August, it dropped an unprecedented amount of rainfall across Houston. Despite this rainfall, all of the plaintiffs’ homes initially escaped catastrophic flooding. However, the rainfall filled the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then made the decision to release floodwaters into Buffalo Bayou, knowing that this controlled release would inundate the plaintiffs’ homes.

The reservoirs were built after a catastrophic flood in 1935 to protect downtown Houston from future flooding. By 2009, the dams were deemed to be in “extremely high risk of catastrophic failure.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the dams, which were in the middle of a $75 million renovation when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Most of the time, the dams are open, allowing water to flow through to Buffalo Bayou. However, whenever there is heavy rainfall, the Army Corps of Engineers closes the dams.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the initial decision to pool water within the resevoirs and inundated properties upstream of the reservoirs. Then, they made the decision to release floodwaters downstream into Buffalo Bayou, which inundated thousands of downstream homes and businesses.

The Army Corps of Engineers knew this widespread flooding would occur as a result of the releases, constituting a taking of private property for public use.

Inverse Condemnation

Under the Fifth Amendment, the U.S. government must fairly compensate property owners when taking private land for public use. When the government takes land without following eminent domain procedures, including failing to provide just compensation, it is called inverse condemnation. When inverse condemnation occurs, property owners have a right to file a lawsuit against the government to obtain their rightful compensation.

Inverse Condemnation Claims After Hurricane Harvey

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began controlled inundations and releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs after Hurricane Harvey, it effectively took away private property for public use. Ownerswners whose properties survived did not flood because of the catastrophic rain, but flooded as a result of the reservoir releases will need help obtaining compensation. The experienced inverse condemnation lawyers at Raizner Slania can help you understand your legal rights and pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.