Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 18, 2014

Attorney: Flood lawsuit the last

TRAVERSE CITY — Another lawsuit that trickled into local courts over the Brown Bridge Dam breach likely will be the last before the case goes to trial, an attorney representing Boardman River property owners said.

A complaint filed this week in 13th Circuit Court seeks $1.1 million in damages for property owners along Garfield and Boardman Plains road who contend the dam’s removal not only caused a catastrophic October 2012 flood that damaged their property, but also diminished the river’s natural qualities.

Kristyn Houle represents plaintiffs in this case and two others filed against Traverse City, the Boardman River Dams Settlement Agreement Implementation Team and engineering and construction firms involved in the dam’s removal.

“It’s the same issues as the previous lawsuits,” she said.

The suit seeks a trial on eight civil counts against the defendants, and ranges from negligence to violations of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act. It claims the defendants overlooked or denied the risk of flooding.

Richard Baron, one of Traverse City’s attorneys in the case, could not be reached for comment.

Houle said many property owners already settled over the dam’s breach before they took their cases to court and her firm doesn’t have other lawsuits pending. She said there’s a strong likelihood the similar cases will be wrapped together.

“Currently, the first round of lawsuits is scheduled for trial in July,” she said.

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