Court Rules Homeowners Behind Addicks and Barker Dams Are Entitled to Fifth Amendment Compensation

Government Liable for Project-Induced Flood Damage according to Senior Judge Charles F. Lettow

Houston, Texas, (December 17th, 2019). Williams Hart Law Firm announces Senior Judge Charles F. Lettow of the United States Court of Federal Claims issued an official ruling today in favor of homeowners and businesses who sued the Federal Government for damage resulting from the Army Corps of Engineers’ operation of the Addicks and Barker dams during and after Tropical Storm Harvey [Case 1:17-cv-09001-CFL, Sub-Master Docket No. 17-9001L]. Judge Lettow’s ruling relates to a May 2019 liability trial for thirteen “test properties” located behind the federal government’s flood-control project, which was originally built in the 1940s to protect downtown Houston.

Armi Easterby, partner at Williams Hart Boundas Easterby, LLP who is part of the court-appointed team that took the case to trial, stated: “This is a huge win and a big step in collecting fair compensation for the thousands of families and businesses that suffered catastrophic damage from the government’s flood pools.”

The property owners brought “inverse condemnation” claims under the Fifth Amendment, which requires that the government pay Just Compensation when it takes property for a public purpose. During the liability trial, plaintiffs showed how the Addicks and Barker dams, located 17 miles west of downtown Houston, held back and controlled stormwater in two massive “flood pools” that submerged over 7,000 acres of privately-owned land.

According to the Corps of Engineers, The government denied owing compensation to any homeowners, and argued that any damages were temporary and could be repaired.

The United States Court of Federal Claims is a federal court that hears claims against the United States government. Senior Judge Lettow held a 2-week trial in Houston, Texas, which concluded on May 17, 2019. Over 30 witnesses were called to testify, including property owners, representatives from Harris County and Fort Bend County, personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as experts in hydrology, meteorology, and real estate valuation. The trial included a site inspection during which Judge Lettow personally viewed Addicks and Barker.

Mr. Easterby notes the following major points were established at trial:
• The Army Corps was well aware that it had no legal right to impose flooding on privately-owned land, but did so anyway to save money.
• The Army Corps designed and built Addicks and Barker to hold back and control water from storms substantially larger than Harvey.
• Trial evidence showed that the Army Corps’ use and occupation of over 10,000 private structures prevented $7 billion in downstream damages.

In his ruling, Judge Lettow held that the federal government’s construction and operation of Addicks and Barker was a “taking” under the 5th Amendment, entitling the homeowners to Just Compensation. “The court finds that the government’s actions relating to the Addicks and Barker Dams and the attendant flooding of plaintiffs’ properties constituted a taking of a flowage easement under the Fifth Amendment. Thus, the court finds defendant liable” [Case 1:17-cv-09001-CFL, Sub-Master Docket No. 17-9001L].

Mr. Easterby, who has been licensed in the Court of Federal Claims since January of 2000, said the next phase of litigation is to determine the amount of compensation owed by the government. “With this win under our belt we can now turn to the damages phase, in which we’ll work to collect fair compensation for our 1,000+ clients,” said Mr. Easterby.

About Armi Easterby
Armi Easterby is part of the court-appointed lead team that won the test case trial [Case 1:17-cv-09001-CFL, Sub-Master Docket No. 17-9001L]. His firm represents individual property owners in all impacted communities behind the dams, including Bear Creek, Canyon Gate, Twin Lakes, Lakes on Eldridge, Concord Bridge, Concord Colony, Cinco Ranch, Charlestown Colony, Cinco at Willow Fork, Cinco Ranch Equestrian Village, Cinco Ranch Greenway Village, Cinco Ranch Meadow Place, Cinco Ranch Southpark, Concord Fairways at Kelliwood, Grand Lakes, Grand Lakes Phase Three, Grand Mission, Green Trails Oaks, Greens at Willow Fork, Jamestown Colony, Kelliwood Greens, Kingsland Estates, Lakes of Buckingham Kelliwood, Mayde Creek Farms, Park Harbor Estates, Parklake Village, Pine Forest, Savannah Estates, Stone Gate at Canyon Gate, and Windsor Park Estates.

About Williams Hart Law Firm
Based in Houston, Texas, Williams Hart Law Firm handles cases throughout the country. To learn more about the firm, visit and

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Getting Your Life Back After A Traumatic Event

A traumatic event, such as an accident or a sudden loss, can tackle you suddenly to the grown, leaving you unable to pursue your journey. For many, trauma is more than a distraction in the grand scheme of life. It’s a violent obstacle, that doesn’t only stop you from moving further in life, but that also actively pushes you several steps backward. 

Unfortunately, you can’t brace yourself for such events. They occur at random, without warning, which makes them excessively destructive. Indeed, because traumatic events hit you when you least expect it, they’re a vicious blow that affects your life in a variety of way. Getting back control and peace takes time and effort. 

Find the support you deserve 

If you’ve watched a game of football before, you’ve probably noticed that teams work together, ensuring that when a player is targeted, he or she receives the necessary defence from other members of the team. No player should be left to face an attack alone. And when it comes to dealing with a trauma, the response is the same. Whether you’ve been involved in an accident and need compensation payout for back injury or you’ve been unfairly fired from your job and need legal advice against discriminatory end of employment, there are experts out there who can help you. You don’t have to face anything on your own. 

Build your bubble of peace and happiness

You need a place where you can feel safe. A traumatic event is hugely stressful, which is why it’s essential to create for you an environment in which you feel safe. A cheerful home decor, for instance, can play a significant role in your emotional recovery, by reducing all stress factors around you. Something as simple as maximising textures in each room with cushions, rugs and throws can help to build a cozy and inviting space. Additionally, you can add little things that bring a smile to your face. Sentimental clutter acts as a feel-good pill! 

Be patient with yourself 

The reason why it’s called trauma is that it crushes you, emotionally as well as physically. Shocks take time to heal. A common mistake, for many people who’ve been wounded by life, is to try to carry on as if nothing has happened. The pain, as they see it, is a waste of time. However, whether your pain is emotional or physical – or both –, you need to give yourself the room to recover. The way to deal with pain is not to block it but to express it, whether it’s grief, fear, PTSD – which is common after a car accident – or even heartbreak. 

Define your goal

What does the trauma mean for you? At the end of the day, a traumatic event disturbs the order of things in your life. As it does, it can transform your life goals too. Dealing with a trauma begins the day you accept that your recovery takes you along a new path; you need new objectives to focus on. 

Can you bounce back immediately after a trauma? The answer is no, and you shouldn’t listen to the friends who suggest getting over it. Ultimately, you need support to protect you when you need it most; you need a safe retreat, and a lot of patience. It takes time to get better, emotionally and physically. 

3 Important Factors Considered in a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases can vary from slip and fall accidents to dog bites or car accidents, but they all include the same crucial factors that need to be proven for the victim to obtain compensation. A victim in a personal injury case will need to be able to show how the injury occurred, who is liable for the injury, and how much compensation they need to financially recover from their injuries.

How the Injury Occurred

How the injury occurred is often the entire basis for a personal injury case. If the injury occurred because of the injured person’s own actions, they might not be able to obtain compensation for their injuries. In a slip and fall accident, for instance, they may not be able to obtain compensation if they fell because of something they dropped and slipped on. If they fell because of something the store did not clean or section off with a warning sign, they may be able to get compensation for their injuries. When the injured person speaks with a lawyer like one from, they will need to explain how they were injured. The lawyer can then look into evidence showing how the injury occurred in case this information is needed during negotiations for a settlement or a trial to obtain compensation.

Who is Liable for the Injury

Liability will vary based on the type of accident and the cause of the accident. In some, liability is relatively straightforward. In a slip and fall case that happens inside a store, it’s typically the store that is at fault. However, liability can quickly become difficult to determine if there are multiple parties that could be liable. In a slip and fall accident, especially one outside of a store, the liable party may be the store, the company that owns the property, or the company that is working on repairs on the property. The lawyer representing the injured person can review how the accident occurred to determine who is likely liable for the accident and, therefore, required to compensate the victim for their injuries.

How Much Compensation is Needed

One of the most difficult aspects of a personal injury case is determining the amount of compensation. There are many different types of compensation that the victim can request based on the facts of their case. Medical bills are the most common type of compensation provided to the injured person, but compensation can also include property damage, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life for permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. The compensation will also typically include legal fees if the injured person hires a lawyer to help with their case. This way, they do not have to worry about reducing the amount of compensation they receive so they can pay the lawyer. Instead, they should receive sufficient compensation to cover all expenses that occurred because of the accident.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else, these factors are all crucial and will make a difference in whether you’re able to obtain the compensation you need. Make sure you speak with a lawyer about your case so they can help you determine if you meet the requirements for a personal injury case. If you do, they can then help you prove your case and obtain the full amount of compensation you need.