Charles Irvine Interviewed About Addicks-Barker Lawsuit

Flooding, Irvine, News & Blog

The Houston Chronicle profiled Irvine & Conner’s proposed class action on behalf of individuals living within the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs’ maximum design pools in an article titled “Army Corps should have brought easements to make room for flood pools, lawsuit says.” In the excerpt below, Charles Irvine discusses the Corps’ failure to buy necessary easements, which would have prevented foreseeable flooding. Read the full article here. (PDF)

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Elsewhere in the United States, the Army Corps has blocked development around its reservoirs – at times purchasing land for “flood storage easements” around dams or levees in areas where it expects to divert or store floodwater, said Charles W. Irvine, the Houston-based lead attorney in the lawsuit. That never happened here, and now homeowners are owed compensation, Irvine argues.

“The corps has been discussing this but no one took it beyond that – not in term of disclosing it to the neighborhoods and certainly took no steps to offer to purchase a federal flood easement in exchange for some money,” Irvine said.

A recent informational meeting about the case drew more than 100 homeowners from Canyon Gate and from other subdivisions that flooded during Hurricane Harvey, attorneys said. Irvine said that only five raised their hands when he asked who had flood insurance.

In Mississippi and Louisiana, the Corps has taken steps to inform people and compensate those whose property could be subject to inundation in areas near levees and rivers, Irvine said.

That was never done with the West Houston dams. The reason may be that such a step in the 1980s or in the ’90s would have stopped the march of development, said attorney Jim Blackburn, who has filed other lawsuits arguing that the region’s flood control rules were insufficient to protect homeowners and the environment.