Home Floods - Neighbor Negligent: Clients’ House Flooded During Summer Monsoon: Neighbor’s Fence Diverts Water From Drainage Easement; More than $100,000 in Property Damage

Our clients’ house was flooded during a summer monsoon. The cause of the flood was a neighbor’s wrought iron fence erected across a drainage easement behind our clients’ property. The fence became clogged with debris during the rainstorm, and effectively dammed the rainwater by preventing it from properly flowing down the drainage easement. A block wall that enclosed our client’s backyard could not withstand the weight of the rising water, and ultimately gave way. A wall of water crashed through our clients’ home and destroyed or severely damaged all of their personal effects and furnishings.

We filed suit against the neighbor with the fence, and the city in which our client lived. We alleged that the neighbor was negligent in maintaining a fence across a drainage easement, and that the city was negligent by not previously enforcing an ordinance which prohibits the erection of fences across drainage easements. We obtained evidence that the city had notice of the ordinance violation after an earlier rainstorm during which similar flooding occurred, but took no action to enforce the ordinance. After we filed suit, the city finally ordered the removal of the fence.

On the day before the trial was set to begin, we settled the case. The neighbor paid our clients $80,000, and the city paid $25,000, for a total settlement of $105,000.

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