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A Texas landowner can sue the state for flood damages to his property, US Supreme Court rules

Richie DeVillier, who owns land east of Houston, said the state owes him damages for constant flooding after Texas made changes to Interstate 10 near his property.
Posted: 11:05 AM, Apr 16, 2024
Updated: 2024-04-16 12:05:08-04
An abandoned car sits in floodwaters in a residential neighborhood in Beaumont in 2017, 11 days days after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas Coast. A property owner sued Texas for damages to his property in nearby Chambers County following changes to Interstate 10.

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LUFKIN (Texas Tribune) — A Texas landowner may seek compensation from the state for damages to his property east of Houston, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday.

Richie DeVillier, a landowner in Chambers County, sued the state in 2020 after his land repeatedly flooded following changes Texas made to Interstate 10.

Texas officials moved the case to federal courts, then sought to dismiss it. Aaron Lloyd Nielson of the Texas Attorney General’s Office said at oral arguments on Jan. 16 that the state would accept the case if it were updated to reflect state law.

The Supreme Court determined Texas ought to consider the case under state law, which would permit DeVillier to pursue compensation.

“And, although Texas asserted that proceeding under the state-law cause of action would require an amendment to the complaint, it also assured the Court that it would not oppose any attempt by DeVillier and the other petitioners to seek one,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the opinion.

DeVillier’s lawsuit was representative of 120 other property owners who also faced significant damage during Hurricane Harvey as a result of the barrier.

[U.S. Supreme Court hears Texas case that could change how states compensate landowners for their property]

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

"A Texas landowner can sue the state for flood damages to his property, US Supreme Court rules" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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