October 7, 2011
Strong & Hanni attorneys Robert Janicki and Adam Wentz obtained summary judgment on behalf of their clients against a plaintiff who was seeking recovery for damages to his home allegedly resulting from flooding of an irrigation canal.
The subject irrigation canal ran near the plaintiff’s home and delivers water through a local weir to a lateral ditch that passes along the edge of plaintiff’s real property. This lateral ditch delivers water to multiple water users, including Strong & Hanni’s clients. Plaintiff claimed that for an extended period of time, the defendants failed on multiple occasions to control the amount of water passing through the weir, which he believes ultimately led to the flooding of his property and the settling of his home’s foundation.
Strong & Hanni was awarded summary judgment on the basis that plaintiff was not able to establish which of the water users was responsible for causing his claimed damages. There were several users of this particular weir and ditch, each of whom had open access to the headgate that instigated the flow of water into the ditch. Strong & Hanni successfully argued that plaintiff must establish more than a mere possibility of causation, and that he failed to demonstrate anything more than a chance that Strong & Hanni’s clients were liable for allowing the ditch to overflow onto plaintiff’s property.