Information for Potential Victims of Flood Damage Due to Dam B / Steinhagen Reservoir Release
Bernsen Law Firm
In addition to the many homes and businesses flooded in Southeast Texas as a result of the heavy rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Harvey, many more along the Neches River and bodies of water connected to it that would NOT have been flooded (and others that would have been the victims of only minor flooding) may have experienced major flooding as a result of the release of up to 55,110 cubic feet of water per second from Dam B / Steinhagen Reservoir.
If your home or business along the Neches River or bodies of water connected to it sustained secondary river flood damages after Dam B / Steinhagen Reservoir was released by the Army Corps of Engineers during and after Tropical Storm Harvey, then there is an important area of the law you should be aware of called “inverse condemnation.”
What is inverse condemnation? Put simply, when the United States federal government takes private property for a public use, the Fifth Amendment to the United State Constitution requires that it pay “just compensation” to the person or business whose property was taken.
Inverse condemnation is very similar to eminent domain in that both involve the government using your property for its own purposes, such as installing power lines or laying railroad tracks. But while eminent domain involves the government contacting you ahead of time to discuss use and compensation, inverse condemnation works backwards. In these cases, your property is used with no prior warning and you are left to request compensation after the fact.
When the United States federal government intentionally decided to release up to 55,110 cubic feet of water per second from Dam B / Steinhagen Reservoir, it may have flooded homes and business that were still dry. In other words, during the Dam B Release 2017, the government arguably took private property for public use, requiring it to compensate those home and business owners.
- The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that government-induced flooding, although temporary in nature, may give rise to an inverse condemnation claim entitling the property owner to just compensation.
- Inverse condemnation does not mean there was necessarily any wrongdoing on the part of the United States federal government.
- You may be able entitled to just compensation even if you did not have flood insurance.
- There are no up front fees or costs to you in filing this lawsuit. Attorneys’ fees will only be paid out of a successful recovery. Any expenses and costs come out of our client’s share of successful recovery.
Who’s affected? Home and business owners along the Neches River and bodies of water connected to it south of Dam B / Steinhagen Reservoir in Tyler, Jasper, Hardin, Orange, and Jefferson Counties.
As with any lawsuit, we cannot promise recovery, but we promise to fight vigorously for Southeast Texans’ right to be justly compensated for federally caused flooding. Contact us if you have experienced Harvey aftermath damages due to the Steinhagen Reservoir Release 2017.