Justices dismiss Harvey inverse condemnation case filed in district court

HOUSTON – Homeowners whose properties allegedly flooded when water was released from a damn recently had their inverse condemnation case against the San Jacinto River Authority dismissed.

During Hurricane Harvey, the River Authority released water from Lake Conroe into the San Jacinto River.

In turn, owners of homes that flooded filed suit against the River Authority in the district courts of Harris County, seeking compensation for their inverse-condemnation and statutory takings claims.

Inverse condemnation is when a government takes property for public use that greatly damages the value of the plaintiff’s property.

Court records show the River Authority appealed a trial court’s order denying its motion to dismiss and render judgment dismissing the homeowners’ claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The homeowners asserted only inverse condemnation claims under the Texas Constitution.

On Sept. 21, the 14th Court of Appeals held that Harris County civil courts at law have exclusive jurisdiction over such claims filed in Harris County, reversing the trial court.

“Our disposition, however, is without prejudice to the homeowners’ rights, if any, to file or refile claims in the proper court, and we express no opinion as to the availability or viability of any future claims,” the opinion states.

Appeals case No. 14-18-00174-CV

Written by Staff reports

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