US Harvey storm-water releases were unlawful government takings: lawsuits

10:51  13 september  2017
10:51  13 september  2017 Source:   reuters.com

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One thought on “ Harvey storm - water releases were unlawful government takings : lawsuits ”. Charles Crane says: September 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm.

Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm -swollen REUTERS/Mike Blake. Several lawsuits filed in federal and state courts in Texas claim properties were taken for public use without compensation.

FILE PHOTO: Water bubbles up from a sewer cover in an affluent neighborhood in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey on the west side of Houston, Texas© REUTERS/Mike Blake FILE PHOTO: Water bubbles up from a sewer cover in an affluent neighborhood in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey on the west side of Houston, Texas

Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm-swollen reservoirs, using a legal tack pursued without success in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

Several lawsuits filed in federal and state courts in Texas claim properties were taken for public use without compensation. The lawsuits name the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a state agency responsible for water releases. The potential damages could run as high as $3 billion, according to attorneys involved.

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Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm -swollen reservoirs, using a legal tack pursued without success in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Several lawsuits filed in federal and state courts in

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm -swollen reservoirs, using a legal tack pursued without success in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Several lawsuits filed in federal

"No one expects your government is going to deliberately do something that is going to flood your home," said Rhonda Pearce, 56. Her west Houston home was damaged by flooding from reservoir dam releases and she is considering legal action, she said.

"Homes were literally being swept away," said Derek Potts, a Houston-based lawyer representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Harris County court against the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) in a Texas court. His lawsuits are seeking class action status and could involve thousands of homes and businesses.

Water released from a lake into the San Jacinto River was lawful and area flooding "was neither caused by or made worse" by those releases, the SJRA said in a statement. Similar claims from an earlier storm were dismissed in court, it said.

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By Bryan Sims HOUSTON (Reuters) – Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm -swollen reservoirs, using a legal tack pursued without success in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Several lawsuits filed in

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions of dollars in damages by federal and state water releases from storm -swollen reservoirs, using a The lawsuits name the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a state agency responsible for water releases .

The Army Corps of Engineers referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice, which declined to comment.

Potts said there are more than 1,000 homes valued at between $750,000 and $1 million, that could be covered by the lawsuit against the SJRA, putting potential damages in that case in the billions of dollars.

Similar cases last decade that argued the government improperly took property when levees failed in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were unsuccessful, said Robert R. M. Verchick, an environmental law professor at Loyola College of Law in New Orleans.

"The Katrina plaintiffs tried to the do the same thing - and they lost," Verchick said. "In some ways this is going to follow the same path."

Christopher Johns, an attorney who has filed two lawsuits in U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., said his firm has been contacted by hundreds of other homeowners. A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving flooding have opened the door to winning such claims, he said.

Megan Strickland, a plaintiff in one of the federal lawsuits, said while it is difficult to immediately quantify the damage to her home, many of her neighbors are in a similar situation.

"We don't know if our neighborhood will be coming back again," Strickland said.

(Reporting by Bryan Sims and David Gaffen; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Drone view shows continuing cleanup from Harvey .
Hurricane Harvey decimated communities along the Gulf Coast of Texas and left large swaths of the Lone Star State underwater when it roared ashore about three weeks ago. Now those communities are trying to pick up the pieces. In Port Aransas, some structures appear to have dodged total devastation from the outside, but piles of furniture and carpeting growing along the roads are evident of the 5-feet of storm surge that covered the town. To the south end of the seaside community, there's a large pile of debris being created from the various smaller piles around town.

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