Harris Cnty. Flood Control Dist. v. Kerr (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, about 400 homeowners whose homes were located in the upper White Oak Bayou watershed of Harris County, filed suit against the County, asserting a takings cause of action. Plaintiffs claim that the flooding of their homes was caused by the County’s approval of “unmitigated” upstream development, combined with a failure to fully implement the Pate Plan, a flood-control plan. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of the County's motion for summary judgment. The court concluded that, assuming all disputed facts in favor of the homeowners, the record is clear that the County never harbored a desire to cause flooding anywhere. In this case, assuming that a cause of the flooding was the affirmative act of approving private development, there indisputably were other causes: heavy rainfall, and, according to the homeowners themselves, the failure to fully implement the flood-control measures of the Pate Plan. The court concluded that the confluence of these circumstances does not give rise to a takings claim. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment dismissing the case.