In 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought on significant rainfall throughout the entire city of Houston. The Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, per their design and purpose, held back water to protect the City of Houston. However, court documents show that the Army Corps used over 7,000 acres of private land during and after Harvey to store the impounded floodwater. Thus, the neighborhoods upstream of the dams were sacrificed to prevent downstream flooding. The Army Corps’ decision to use this private land resulted in extensive damage to thousands of homes and businesses upstream of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Today, the same operating procedure is in place and, given enough rainfall, will result in future flooding of private upstream property.
After Harvey had passed and the floodwaters had receded, thousands of Upstream residents and business owners demanded answers. The Army Corps refused to take responsibility and instead forced the Upstream residents to file lawsuits to protect and enforce their Fifth Amendment rights to just compensation. We are honored to represent over 1,400 Upstream families and businesses.
A hard-fought courtroom battle led to a historic decision. On December 17, 2019, Judge Lettow issued his ruling finding the government liable under the Fifth Amendment for the intentional flooding of Upstream homes and businesses. In a landmark order, Judge Lettow ruled that intentional Government action was the sole cause of the Upstream flooding.
The pundits said winning was impossible. So-called legal experts predicted a devastating loss for the Plaintiffs. They were wrong.
While property owners celebrated this historic win, the timeline and conditions of compensation became our number one priority. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly unfolded after the ruling, and public safety guidelines led to a slow down within courthouse operations. Thus, moving forward to the compensation phase trial was met with frustrating delay.
Despite this roadblock, Armi and his team pushed ahead. We are excited to announce that Judge Lettow secured a courtroom at the Federal Courthouse here in Houston. The trial will begin on Monday, December 6th, and will conclude on Tuesday the 14th.