Addicks-Barker Upstream Trial Case Entering Final Phase

On the fifth Anniversary of Harvey, the law firm McGehee ☆ Chang, Landgraf, Feiler issued updates on both its upstream and downstream cases in the Addicks-Barker lawsuits against the Army Corps of Engineers.

Final Arguments Scheduled in Upstream Case

The upstream Addicks-Barker lawsuit is finally drawing to a close. Earlier, Judge Charles F. Lettow ruled that the Army Corps was liable for damages. The question being decided now is “How much will residents get?” On that issue…

  • Judge Lettow heard the plaintiffs’ opening post-trial brief on August 1, 2022.
  • Defendants will present their response on September 9.
  • Plaintiffs will get a chance to reply to that on September 23, 2022.
  • The judge will hear final arguments on September 29, 2022, at 2:30 p.m.

“Once the post-trial argument concludes, we expect Judge Lettow to render a decision – which outlines the amount of damages that the homeowners are entitled to,” said the law firm in a press release.  “We hope to receive the ruling by the end of the year.”

Flooded Homes in Addicks Reservoir during Harvey

Downstream Case Still Alive but No Definite Schedule

The McGehee firm won an appeal in its downstream Addicks-Barker lawsuit last June. The ruling on the appeal revived the case, which a lower court had dismissed in 2020.

The lower court found that “Downstream property owners did not have a cognizable [clearly identifiable] property interest.” But in June, a Federal Court of Appeals’ reversed and remanded the lower court’s decision. That means the case will go back to the lower court for further proceedings that follow instructions given by the appeals court.

The lower court will now have to determine whether a “taking” of the Downstream properties occurred, and whether the government’s other defense (i.e., necessity) will apply.

McGehee ☆ Chang, Landgraf, Feiler

“The fight will continue,” said the McGehee team.

For More Information

I’ve covered the upstream and downstream cases since 2020. For more information, see:

The outcome of these cases could affect outcomes in similar “takings” cases in the San Jacinto watershed.

Beyond the lawsuits, flood-mitigation help for residents near the reservoirs remains years away. It could depend on flood tunnels which are still being studied.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/29/22

1826 Days since Hurricane Harvey