The government flooded one of Houston’s wealthiest neighborhoods in Harvey. Now come the lawsuits

A 9,500 community was flooded for more than a week by the Army Corps of Engineers
November 18, 2017 03:41PM

Members of the South Carolina’s Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team perform rescue operations in Port Arthur, Texas, August 31, 2017. (Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez)

Not all flooding in Houston was caused by Hurricane Harvey. During the storm, the Army Corps of Engineers made the decision to release water from the filling dams to prevent failure, and, so, for more than a week the Corps released water into Energy Corridor, a wealth community of about 9,500 people, and its surrounding bayous, according to Bloomberg.

Now, residents whose homes — many of which have never previously flooded and would have likely withstood Harvey without significant water damage — have been condemned are suing the Corps for compensation. One resident, Kyle Haines, is also planning to sue for the wrongful death of his husband, Robert, who drowned in their home as the releases were occurring.

“I’m 100 percent certain Robert died because of the dam releases,” he told Bloomberg. “It was because of their irresponsibility that they didn’t force people to get out before they released the water.”

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing many of the residents of in the community, says the evidence for his clients’ cases is strong.

“We know when the decisions were made, we know who made them, and we know that when they made them they knew which subdivisions would flood,” he told Bloomberg.

If Buzbee’s clients, and others who are pursuing legal action, are successful in suing the government, the case has the potential to change governments’ approach to handling extreme weather; it’s possible, for example, that some governments may choose to save their money for lawsuit payouts rather than constructing infrastructure that could mitigate a disaster.

[Bloomberg] — E.K. Hudson