Property owners sue after Port Arthur refuses to fix sewer problems

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 7, 2010, 6:17am

Two Port Arthur residents who claim they have spent a year and a half dealing with sewage back up on their property are now taking the city to court.

Accusing the city of unlawful condemnation without due process, Todd and Leatris King filed a lawsuit against city of Port Arthur on May 27 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The couple, who live on Eighth Street, claim the city determined in March 2008 that it was necessary to put in a new drainage system and clean-out valve. The work the city performed caused the sewer to back up, covering a large area of their backyard, the suit states.

According to the complaint, the standing sewer problem is so bad that the water department cannot read the King's water meter.

The Kings state that they have complained to all levels of government about the issue but have not found any relief.

By not remedying the condition, the defendant is accused of unlawfully taking the property through inverse condemnation. The inverse condemnation without due process of law and just compensation violates the plaintiffs' rights guaranteed by the Fifth and 14th Amendments, the plaintiffs allege.

"The standing sewer has rendered plaintiffs' home virtually unusable and make it virtually impossible to sell. Of equal importance, the home no longer meets the health code requirements of defendant yet defendant refuses to remedy the problem it has caused," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for mental anguish, loss of use of their property, continuing total loss of the value and use of their property so as to constitute the unlawful taking of their property by inverse condemnation, attorney fees, interest and court costs.

Kenneth W. Lewis of the Beaumont law firm Bush Lewis PLLC is representing the plaintiffs. A jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the litigation.

Case No. 1:10cv00304

More News