Homeowners who sustained flood damage to their property during Hurricane Harvey have made significant progress toward receiving compensation from the U.S. government. The United States Court of Federal Claims found that the government was liable for damages caused to properties upstream from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. While the case was handed down to 13 property owners in West Houston, it can apply to approximately 10,000 homes and businesses. So, for the first time in over two years, thousands of property owners have an opportunity to receive compensation for damages caused by Addicks and Barker reservoir floodwaters.
If you had a home or business damaged west of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, compensation might be possible for you. Call our Hurricane Harvey lawyers at (888) 400-2101 to discover what your options are. We’re ready to provide a free consultation now.
What the Court Determined
Public records show that the Army Corps of Engineers knew that the embankments of the Addison and Barker reservoirs were in drastic need of repair before Hurricane Harvey. When the colossal storm filled the reservoirs nearly to capacity with water, it was left there to prevent downtown Houston from flooding. About 10,000 homes and businesses were flooded as a result.
During their case, the plaintiffs argued that, by choosing to flood their homes, the Army Corps of Engineers seized the use of private land. The Fifth Amendment governs “takings” and requires the government to compensate owners of private property before seizing it. This means that the thousands of people who had their property damaged because of the reservoirs deserve compensation. The government motioned to dismiss these cases.
Trial to determine if the government was liable for damages to property upstream of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs was held in May. Closing arguments were heard by the Honorable Judge Charles F. Lettow on September 13. Then, on December 17, the court denied the government’s motion for dismissal. So, the government was found liable for damages to property in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.
How Much Compensation Is Possible for Property Owners?
It’s unclear how much compensation property owners are eligible for because Judge Lettow separated the damages trial from the liability trial. Now, another trial is scheduled for January of 2020 to determine how much the government must pay property owners in the area. These damages will vary from person to person. However, the original 13 claimants will help us understand what compensation is possible for other property owners.
While it’s two years overdue, property owners in the Addicks/Barkers reservoirs finally have a chance to recover the losses they suffered during Hurricane Harvey. Remodel and repair costs, lost business, and other losses may be recoverable for these individuals.
However, those who will be seeking compensation for their losses will be facing the U.S. government and will need a law firm with a history of results. Arnold & Itkin has obtained billions for clients and has done so against some of the largest companies in the world. We know what it’s like to face a powerful opponent in court, and we’re ready to help you right now. We’ll use our resources and experience to fight for the compensation that you’ve deserved for years.
Consultation with a member of our team is free when you call at (888) 400-2101 or reach out online. We’re ready to help you explore your options right now.