At VB Attorneys, we were the lead Hurricane Harvey court-appointed team that took the upstream test cases to trial and won compensation for those homeowners. For more information and a free consultation, check out our Hurricane Harvey website.
The compensation order for the six upstream test cases is in! With interest and other allowable items, and reductions for certain offsets, the numbers for the test cases who owned homes that flooded are going to average compensation of up to around $300,000 each. This includes interest beginning in August 2017 at 3.62% compounded semi-annually.
Impacted homeowners who have not hired counsel are strongly advised to do so as soon as possible, as the time to file these claims is quickly running out.
The Judge awarded compensation in three categories for the test cases who sustained structural flooding.
First, real property. The Judge characterized this category as follows: “The award for structurally flooded properties reflects both the fact that the easement grants the government the permanent right to impound water within the homes on the properties, and the structural damage the government caused by taking the easement.”
Second, personal property. This includes “personal property, fixtures and improvements” that were located at the flooded property and destroyed or damaged, such as vehicles, furniture, belongings, etc.
Third, dislocation costs. This is basically money spent on alternative lodging while the flooded property was being restored, such as renting a hotel or a temporary home.
The Judge reduced the awards by the amounts of any direct payments from FEMA.
Every case is individual and compensation will be determined based on each person’s individual damages. The test cases are examples that teach us the methodology to be used for the rest of the cases.
It is recommended all impacted upstream homeowners gather and preserve the following materials:
● Documentation of costs to restore and/or repair your flooded home;
● A list of your personal property, fixtures and improvements that were damaged or destroyed, any photos you may have of these items (before and/or after the flooding), and any documentation you may have indicating the value of such items (when first acquired and/or at the time of the flooding); and
● Documentation of any costs you incurred for temporary lodging while your flooded home was being restored / repaired.
Vuk Vujasinovic of VB Attorneys, who represents homeowners in all of the impacted upstream communities, says “Our goal is to use these victories in the test cases and apply them to the claims of all of our clients in order to get them the just compensation they are owed under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Vujasinovic estimates the collective value of the claimed damages exceeds $1 Billion. Vujasinovic points out that anyone who does not hire counsel and file their claim soon will be prohibited from ever recovering any compensation in this matter.