Judge rules for city in lawsuit

Published 7:57 pm Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Fifth Circuit judge last week ruled for the city in a lawsuit in which a property owner claimed its property was flooding frequently because of the city.

Rachel E. Tyler LC owns 1548B and 1548C Holland Road, which includes two multi-story office buildings.

The owner says the property has flooded several times, including on Dec. 23, 2013, and Jan. 11, 2014. It has caused damaged to the property and decreased it in value, and the owner has exhausted significant resources to repair the damage, according to the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Circuit Court.

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“The city is causing excessive amounts of water, detritus, debris, leaves, sediment, oil, wood, rubbish and other items to be directed onto the petitioner’s property from the city’s rights-of-way,” the lawsuit states.

Repeated flooding amounts to a taking of the property, according to the owner’s lawsuit.

But after a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Robert H. Sandwich Jr. ruled for the city.

The petitioner “failed to allege what actions of the city have resulted in the alleged flooding,” he wrote in his decision. “I find that the facts set forth in the petition are not sufficient to clearly inform the city of the nature what actions the city has taken that have resulted in the flooding of the petitioner’s property.”

Other lawsuits upon which the property owner was relying provided specific actions the municipalities in question had taken — installing a drainpipe it knew was too small, for example — to cause the flooding, Sandwich wrote.

The plaintiff has 21 days to amend the lawsuit.