Judge Lauren Reeder of the 234th Judicial District Court has set the trial date in the Elm Grove/North Kingwood Forest flooding case for July 13, 2020.
Background of Case
On May 7th of this year, heavy rains fell on 268 acres that had been clear cut by subsidiaries of Perry Homes (PSWA, Inc. and Figure Four Partners LTD.) and their contractors. Contractors working on the new development, Woodridge Forest, had not yet installed detention ponds to control the runoff. Approximately 200 homes flooded during the rain event.
Video shows that much of the water flowed down streets near Taylor Gully instead of flowing into the gully itself at a controlled rate as it should have. The defendants blamed the flooding on God. But the hydrology report prepared by LJA Engineering showed that the detention ponds in the development should have held more than a foot of rain, far more than actually fell that day. One issue in the case may be whether the developer acted negligently by clearcutting so much acreage before installing adequate detention.
Schedule Between Now and Trial Date
The docket control order issued by Judge Reeder also lays out the general order of events in the case. On or before:
- 12/16/2019, all parties to the case must be added and served, a legal process called “joinder.” Inviters this case, more than 200 individual plaintiffs are suing the defendants. Interestingly, the defendants do not yet include the parent company, Perry Homes, or LJA Engineering Inc., the company that designed the development and its detention systems.
- 4/13/2020, all expert witnesses for parties seeking affirmative relief must be named.
- 5/13/2020, all other expert witnesses must be named.
- 6/12/2020, the court will hold a status conference to discuss discovery limitations and alternative dispute resolution (i.e., mediation). The discover period ends on 6/12. All pleadings, amendments and challenges to expert testimony must also be heard by this date.
On 6/29/20 at 1:30 pm, Judge Reeder has scheduled a docket call at which all parties to the case must be prepared to discuss every aspect of the case.
Judge Reeder also tentatively scheduled the trial for 7/13/2020.
To see the entire original docket order, click here.
Woodridge Village Construction Continues
Construction on the Woodridge Village development will continue during the pre-trial phase. This has some residents concerned. While the construction of detention ponds is encouraging, any flaws in the construction of the engineering plans will be set in concrete before the case goes to trial. If there are flaws, that could affect flooding for years to come.
Jeff Miller, an Elm Grove resident, reports that two more culverts have been added to Taylor Gulley where it bisects the northern and southern portions of Woodridge Village.
Posted by Bob Rehak on July 25, 2019 with help from Bill Fowler and Jeff Miller
695 days after Hurricane Harvey
All thoughts expressed in this post represent my opinions on matters of public policy and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the great State of Texas.