Tag: Inverse Condemnation

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.

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.