Flood lawsuit settles for $1.3 million
Most of a $1.3 million settlement of a lawsuit over flooding in northern Carson Valley will be used to build stormwater improvements in the Johnson Lane area.
Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to discuss a settlement agreement negotiated by the county and homeowners affected by the 2014 and 2015 flash floods.
Under the settlement, $830,000 will be used to build improvements, including a retention and detention basin recommended in the Johnson Lane Area Drainage Master Plan approved last year.
The other $470,000 will be used for attorneys and experts who worked on the lawsuit.
Skyline Ranch homeowner Janet Geary said she signed onto the lawsuit to hold the county accountable.
“We were disappointed with the outcome,” she said. “We were told either sign on to this or find a new attorney.”
Geary, who is a former R-C publisher, said she and her husband had $65,000 in damage to her landscaping from the 2015 flood.
“When the flooding occurred we had a lot of people’s landscaping in our yards and a river in front of our house.”
She said she put up a stone fence out front that she hopes will reduce future damage.
“We spent our own money, so we didn’t have those problems anymore,” she said. “But when we go to sell the house, we have to tell people there has been flooding in the area.”
Commissioners meet 1 p.m. Thursday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.
“As recited in the settlement agreement, no payments will be made to the plaintiffs by Douglas County and Douglas County specifically denies liability for the damages incurred by plaintiffs arising out of the extraordinary 2014 and 2015 summertime flood events in the Johnson Lane area,” Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadlé wrote.
Wadlé said the agreement was the result of litigants’ desire to build stormwater improvements in Johnson Lane.
The lawsuit was filed June 6, 2016, and included 31 plaintiffs, all of whom claimed damage as a result of the flooding.
Under the settlement, $208,200 will be used for construction of a 25-year Romero retention basin. Another $319,550 will be used to install a 25-year retention basin near Stephanie Way.
Both projects will require permits from the Bureau of Land Management. The county is required to apply for those permits within six months of the agreement.
None of the money will go directly to any of the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit wound its way through Douglas County District Courts for nearly two years before the parties agreed to mediation by retired District Judge Dave Gamble.
Gamble held two days of mediation in late May.
The county will provide $750,000 from its risk management fund while the Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool will contribute $550,000 to the fund.
In addition to the settlement, commissioners are being asked to create a revenue fund for the settlement.
Monsoon rains during the summers of 2014 and 2015 sent muddy water rushing through the North Valley and Fish Springs.
Minden saw the sixth wettest July in 113 years during 2015. While 2014 was not quite as wet, heavy rains concentrated in the Pine Nuts and on Hot Springs mountain.
Douglas emergency managers estimated slightly more than half of the people affected by the 2014 flooding were hit again the following year.
Flooding the week of July 8, 2015, damaged 162 properties and did $2.2 million in damage to public infrastructure.
Emergency Manager East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini reported major damage to four homes and minor damage to seven homes under federal criteria.