County answers flooding lawsuit
A jury may get to decide whether Douglas County failed to prevent damage from flooding to North Valley properties during the summers of 2014 and 2015.
Douglas County is denying allegations it contributed to the damage done to about two-dozen properties during the floods that affected homeowners in upper Johnson Lane.
Calling the rainstorms that struck the Pine Nuts bringing floodwater into the vicinity an “act of God,” the county’s attorneys assert residents knew the risks and didn’t exercise due care to prevent the losses.
Plaintiffs claim Douglas County should have known natural drainage from the slopes were altered by the construction of Skyline Ranch, which was built above their property.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Douglas County District Court, residents say the county should have known their roads and culverts were installed without engineering to take into account the amount of water that flows out of the Pine Nuts.
Residents are accusing the county of failing to clean out the culverts that cross their property. The county worked to clear culverts after both summers’ flooding.
The county is also citing state law, which says no legal action may be brought against the state for failure to discover any hazard during an inspection.
“An inspection conducted with regard to a private building, structure, facility or improvement constitutes a public duty and does not warrant or ensure the absence of any hazard.”
Arbitration Master Steve McMorris signed an order stating the case won’t be subject to arbitration.
Homeowners are being represented by the law firm of Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa, which represented residents of Fernley, in the Jan. 5, 2008 Truckee Canal flood.
The county is represented by the firm of Thorndal, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush & Eisinger.