Currently, the lead attorneys are working on discovery in the test property cases, including the exchange of documents, site inspections, and eventually depositions. So far, the Government has produced almost a million pages of documents related to this case. We are working hard to learn all we can about the Government’s records. And we are in the process of setting up depositions, which take a lot of work to handle. Even though these do not involve major filings in Court, the discovery process requires maximum effort, which both the attorneys and the test-case plaintiffs are providing.
In February, the government filed a “motion to dismiss” our lawsuit. This is a common tactic for defendants, to challenge the legal theory of a plaintiff’s case. Last month, we responded. Last week, the government filed a reply. This means the motion is fully briefed, and we are waiting on the Court to set a hearing or issue a ruling.
Our next litigation deadline is in the summer, when we have “motions for summary judgment” due. These are pre-trial motions to narrow the facts that will be litigated at trial. It is possible to win a case on a summary judgment motion, but at this juncture, it is hard to say whether the Court is willing to rule on our case at this early stage.
As we have described in earlier updates, the Court is allowing only 14 test properties to proceed in litigation this year. This is part of a streamlined process to determine whether the government has liability (responsibility) for the flooding of a subset of all flood victims. Our lawsuit remains the “Master Complaint”, and that master complaint, as well as other filings, are available here on our website.
Client Damage Review
For our signed clients, we have started the process of collecting damages information. This collection process will begin with the clients who signed with us earliest in time and are working forward. As part of the process, we worked with our real estate experts to develop detailed checklists, and the checklists will assist clients in collecting their documents and information. Our case managers will then work with each client on collecting documents, photos, and other relevant information that establishes their monetary losses due to the flooding during Harvey.
Collecting damage information is an important part of the process to make sure that each client can obtain the maximum monetary award allowed by the law and that is unique to each client’s case. As we have explained, it is the government’s liability that the Court is focused on this year. But, we think it is important to collect damages information from our clients while all of this information is fresh, rather than wait until the liability phase is over.
For those signed clients who want to get a jump on the process, you can request a copy of the spreadsheet we developed for personal property by clicking this link and providing the requested information. It won’t make you jump the line, but it will give you a head start when your turn comes. Here is a glance at the spreadsheet:
Next Town Hall Meeting: Monday, April 23rd, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
At our town hall meetings, we explain why the upstream flooding happened, what the Army Corps knew, and what our plan for the lawsuit is. We usually speak for about an hour and then take questions until every last question is answered. (Vamos a tener un traductor de espanol.)
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 23, starting at 6:00 PM, at the Four Points by Sheraton Houston Energy Corridor, located at 18861 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77094 (near Greenhouse, on the south side of I-10). We have frequent meetings to inform the upstream client group about the case. If you cannot make this one, you can come to one in the future, or you can call us (713-533-1704 or 888-248-5215).