Addicks & Barker Reservoir Flood Claims
After Harvey swept through Texas, homeowners and businesses alike experienced one of the largest, most dangerous storms in recent U.S. history. As if that was not bad enough, those who were located near the Addicks and Barker Reservoir experienced intense flooding caused directly by decisions made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers both during and after the storm. If you were one of the individuals who were affected by such flooding, we encourage you to contact our firm as soon as possible.
Who Is Responsible for the Addicks & Barker Reservoirs?
Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) who also own specific property behind the dams. Thus, they are the responsibility of the U.S. government.
Information Regarding Inverse Condemnation Claims
For individuals who were affected by the flooding of stormwater from Addicks and/or Barker, you may be eligible to pursue an inverse condemnation claim under the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Under this clause, the government is forbidden from taking private property for public use without “just compensation.” It helps protect individuals from being forced to bear burdens that should be shared amongst the entire public.
Per the U.S. Supreme Court, those who are pursuing an inverse condemnation claim must establish:
- That they had protectable property interest as defined by state law.
- Their reasonable investment-backed expectations regarding the property.
- The degree of intention behind the invasion and foreseeable result of the government’s decision.
- That the flooding was a “direct, natural, or probable” result of the government’s decision.
- That the government’s decision has a substantial impact on the property in question.
While usually the government will specify that a land needs to be used for public purposes, condemn the land, and then pay just compensation to the owner, it works in reverse during an inverse condemnation case. In these claims, the property owner has their property taken by the government and then file a lawsuit. In regards to Harvey, this is applicable as the Corps' decision causing flooding to nearby lands could constitute the taking of property, meaning property owners are due just compensation.
What Is “Just Compensation”?
As explained above, the U.S. government is forbidden from taking private property for public use without providing “just compensation” to the property owner.
The U.S. Supreme Court has since defined this just compensation as the value of the property itself. In other words, the property owner should receive compensation that places them in the same position they would have been in had the property never been taken at all. Per the Supreme Court, such compensation is not bound to a rigid formula and should be adjusted to fit the situation.
Take Action Today. Contact Arnold & Itkin LLP: (888) 400-2101.
At Arnold & Itkin, we believe home and business owners who were affected by the flooding of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs should be properly compensated for the damage. This should include compensation that allows the property to be cleared and restored, that covers the loss of investment, and compensates all expenses that are required to restore the property to its condition before the flooding. In addition, we believe property owners should be compensated for any diminished property value.
If you'd like to learn more about inverse condemnation claims or if you would like to take the first step in your claim, do not hesitate to call Arnold & Itkin today at (888) 400-2101. We look forward to helping you rebuild after Harvey.