Flood lawsuit trial set for 2019
May 3, 2018
A lawsuit where nearly three-dozen north Carson Valley property owners are suing Douglas County over flooding could be heard next year.
District Judge Tod Young set the two-month jury trial to start July 8, 2019, which will be four years to the day after the last major flood hit the Johnson Lane neighborhood.
Flooding the week of July 8, 2015, damaged 162 properties and did $2.2 million in damage to public infrastructure. It was estimated to be a once in 500-year event. That was the sixth wettest July on record in Minden.
It was also the second year in a row flooding sent water and mud into the adjoining neighborhood.
That flood occurred July 20, 2014, when a monsoon dropped 1.21 inches of rain in 80 minutes on the mountain located near the Douglas-Carson line.
The lawsuit was filed June 1, 2016, in Douglas County Court claiming the county should have known that the approval of Skyline Ranch in 1994 would change the natural drainage.
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Fifteen of the homes involved in the lawsuit are on Stewart Avenue, Esaw Street, Raeline Lane and Downs Drive. The other eight are located across Johnson Lane.
The lawsuit filed by the Reno law firm of Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa says that after the July 2014 flooding, the county cut ditches and culverts deeper without proper engineering
Under an order Young issued in April, the trial will be conducted in two parts, with the first part determining if the county had any liability in the flooding.
The second part would allow homeowners to present their damages to the jury to determine if there would be an award.
Douglas County is represented by the Reno law firm of Thorndall, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush and Eisinger.
The defense opposed dividing up the trial in two parts, saying that it would not result in a faster trial.
They argued that the case involves 35 separate issues, with each property owner experiencing the floods differently.
In the case of two property owners, the county's attorneys pointed out there was federal land upstream.
Douglas County Emergency Management estimated the damage from the July 8, 2015, flooding was more than $2 million. It affected more than 200 properties and covered 300 acres according to the lawsuit.
Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel determined the flooding didn't rise to the level of a disaster.
Even if residents had flood insurance, it wouldn't have reimbursed them for damage to their landscaping and yards.