Inverse Condemnation Rights – Barker & Addicks Dam Release Houston

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Inverse Condemnation Rights

There is an important law that is beneficial to flood victims called inverse condemnation, which occurs when the government takes private property for a public use without any formal process or condemnation proceeding. Homes and businesses that experienced flooding following the release of the Addicks or Barker Dam are eligible, but only those that happened at 2 a.m. on August 28th.

Government officials state that the purposeful water releases during Hurricane Harvey were necessary in order to preserve the Addicks and Barker dams from serious damage and to save storage capacity in the event of excess water. In order to claim inverse condemnation, the property owner must be able to demonstrate that the government’s actions caused the destruction and damage of their property for public use.



PROCESS

Claimant first pursues insurance payout
Claimant pursues FEMA assistance
Public adjustor writes report quantifying any damage
The claim is made to both Corps of Engineers, US Gov’t, and HCFCD
If the claim is denied, a lawsuit is filed for damage compensation in both state and federal court

KEYS TO CASE

Little to no flooding before gates were opened
Property must be in the area where Corps of Engineers and HCFCD states the gate opening would cause or increase flooding
Proof that there wasn’t a risk of a levee breach
Proof that uncontrolled releases would not have caused real property to otherwise flood

JUST COMPENSATION

Buyout of Real Property at market price to storm
Real Property demolition and replacement
Repair of Real Property
Loss of value of Real Property
Loss of use of Real Property
Loss of personal property
Cost of relocation

Government Must Compensate Affected Property Owners

The law of Inverse condemnation doesn’t necessarily mean that the government did something illegal or that the dams were poorly designed or outdated. While the government may have flooded homes for a legitimate reason to the public, those property owners affected can claim an inverse condemnation action since they experienced the damages of that decision. Whenever the government causes damage to land it is legally obligated to provide just compensation to the property owner.

What is Inverse Condemnation?

In typical cases, the government decides when it must take land for a public reason, then begins the process of taking the land and compensating the owner. Inverse condemnation action is that process in reverse. In an inverse condemnation, the government takes the land first, which forces the property owner to file a lawsuit in order to receive compensation.

Inverse Condemnation Without Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is not required in cases of inverse condemnation. In some cases of those without flood insurance, inverse condemnation is the only option available to legally obtain compensation for damages.

Damages Recoverable in an Inverse Condemnation Lawsuit

Property owners who experience property damage due to the Addicks and Barker dam releases are entitled to compensation for any costs required to rebuild and repair that property. Also, property owners who experience any toxic contamination or chemical explosions caused by the dam release are also eligible for damage compensation.

Houston Inverse Condemnation Lawyers

For those who have had their home or business damaged or destroyed due to the Barker or Addicks dam releases following Hurricane Harvey, you may be entitled to compensation via inverse condemnation. For some property owners, it will be the only option available to help repair and rebuild your property. Our lawyers are available to provide additional information about your legal options in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Tell us about your situation.

A member of our staff will contact you, typically within 24 hours.