Nov 20, 2006

$20 Million Suit Filed for Hurricane Floyd Floods

About 750 residents of Newport News, Va., have refiled a $20 million lawsuit blaming the city for floods stemming from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The lawsuit was filed again on behalf of residents of the Denbigh area. The new lawsuit is in response to a judge’s ruling last week that dismissed the claims of residents in a 2001 lawsuit, which stated the city did not provide adequate storm water drainage.

According to the Daily Press, Hurricane Floyd caused more than $35 million worth of damage in the city.

The new lawsuit was filed in Newport News Circuit Court and U.S. District Court in Newport News. The residents argue that Newport News acted with reckless disregard when it took personal property for public use. The lawsuit claims that three housing complexes were so badly flooded that they now serve as a storage pond for the overflow of water from Jones Run and Jones Pond.

The residents site the Fifth and 14th amendments, which state that private property can not be taken without just compensation.

The Daily Press reports that this was the same argument used in the 2001 lawsuit. In this suit, the residents claimed that the city did not install large enough drainage pipes after it allowed more development near the three housing complexes in question. Therefore, the additional development reduced the amount of ground to absorb rainwater and thus worsened the flooding.

The city denied any wrongdoing in the 2001 case, and Judge Von L. Peirsall sided with the city.