Justices affirm denial of motions to dismiss Harvey inverse condemnation suits against San Jacinto River Authority

By David Yates | Dec 11, 2018

HOUSTON – District courts were right to deny motions to dismiss brought by the San Jacinto River Authority in several inverse condemnation cases, according to the First Court of Appeals.

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

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

The River Authority responded by bringing Rule 91a motions to dismiss, which were denied, prompting the appeal.

On Dec. 4, the First Court found that although the legislature has given the Harris County civil courts at law exclusive jurisdiction over inverse-condemnation claims, the district courts do, however, have subject-matter jurisdiction over the homeowners’ statutory takings claims.

Justices affirmed the denials of the motions to dismiss on grounds of governmental immunity, finding that homeowners have pleaded sufficient facts to demonstrate that the takings claims have a basis in law and fact.

The River Authority is represented by William Helfand and Shane Kotlarsky, attorneys for the Houston law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

Appeal case Nos. 01-18-00365-CV, 01-18-00406-CV and 01-18-00407-CV

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