Supreme Court to Rule on Texas Flood Compensation

( – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on January 16 in the lawsuit brought against the Texas Department of Transportation by a rancher who claims that design flaws on Interstate 10 have worsened flooding on his and other ranchers’ properties, KFDM reported.

Cattle rancher Richie Devillier and his family have owned their Winnie, Texas farm since long before the interstate’s construction. Even after Interstate 10 was built, the farms in the area had no problem with flooding. But a few years ago, the Texas Department of Transportation renovated Interstate 10, raising the road and building a 3-foot high concrete barrier along the center.

According to his complaint, the concrete barriers added to the highway median created a dam effect so water no longer drained to the Gulf of Mexico but flooded the area.

In 2017, a tropical storm flooded the thousands of acres of Devillier’s ranch, killing crops and cattle. The area flooded a second time in 2019 after another tropical storm passed over.

Devillier and some of his neighbors sued the state claiming their rights were violated as Texans and under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. However, the plaintiffs were told they did not have the legal grounds to seek compensation from Texas unless Congress specifically allowed them to do so.

Devillier petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his lawsuit and in late September, the high court agreed to take up the case.

Attorneys from the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that seeks to end government abuse of power, are representing the plaintiffs at the Supreme Court.

According to Forbes, several national groups, including the American Farm Bureau, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the National Associate of Realtors, have filed amicus (friend of the court) briefs with the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs.

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