HOUSTON - Attorneys at a Houston law firm said Tuesday they have filed a class-action lawsuit against the government over the release of water from two west Harris County reservoirs.
Raizner-Slania LLP announced the lawsuit, which accuses the government of inverse condemnation. That is when the government takes private property for public use without any formal process or condemnation proceedings.
Federal engineers said the controlled releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs were necessary after both pools reached record levels. They said the releases would protect the integrity of the dams and prevent catastrophic damage if the dams were breached.
The lawsuit does not accuse the government of wrongdoing, attorneys said. However, they said, property owners affected by the release are owed compensation.
Click or tap here for more information about the lawsuit.
Tuesday night high profiled attorney Tony Buzbee held an informational meeting for people in the Thornwood neighborhood and other areas that were flooded out after the controlled releases.
“We’re trying to figure out what our options are, where do we go from here,” said Garland Robinson, who lives in Memorial Thicket neighborhood."
He said his area has never flooded in the 11 years he’s lived there. He said he and his neighbors are frustrated with the situation.
“They sacrificed our subdivision in total of 158 homes for supposedly the good of the entire city, and it’s just not right. It’s not fair,” Robinson said. “We can’t go in our house, we’re out of our house for over a week and we’re told that we have another 10 to 14 days before we can even enter the house.”
“It’s just devastating. The home, I’d say, is maybe a total loss.” Eugene Chong, who owns a town home unit south of Gesner between Briar Forest and Memorial Drive, said.
His lawyer, Jeff Meyers, has already filed a lawsuit on his behalf.
“In our lawsuit we are not complaining the Army Corps of Engineers did anything wrong, but what we are saying is, once they made the deliberate decision to open the flood gates on the Barker and Addicks reservoir, that they have a duty to compensate the land owners down stream,” Meyers said.
Meyers said the class-action lawsuit has been filed and the next step is discovery, and to meet with more clients. Meyers said he spent the entire day meeting with people.
"What we’re trying to seek is not damages that are at all critical of what the Army Corps of Engineers did, but to compensate all of these land owners for the damage of their property,” Meyers said. “We expect it’s going to be a long road, it’s not an insurance claim, but hopefully we can do our neighbors some good.”
Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rain on the region, which resulted in devastating floods.
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