Markiewicz v. Salt River Valley Water Users' Ass'n

In Markiewicz v. Salt River Valley Water Users' Ass'n, 118 Ariz. 329, 338, 576 P.2d 517, 526 (App. 1978), a group of homeowners sued Salt River Valley Water Users' Association after their homes were damaged by water escaping from the Arizona Canal during a severe rainstorm. Id. at 332-33, 576 P.2d at 520-21. The homeowners observed a wall of water rush through the area around the same time the canal's bank eroded and washed out. See id. at 333, 339, 576 P.2d at 521, 527. The Association argued that the storm was so severe and caused so much water to enter the canal, the canal would have overflowed in any event and that damages were caused by an overtopping of the canal and did not result from the escape of water through certain breaches as the homeowners maintained. See id. at 338, 576 P.2d at 526. At the close of evidence, the trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of the Association. See id. at 333, 576 P.2d at 521. On appeal, this court acknowledged that the water overtopping the canal could have caused part of the damages; however, it concluded that "a jury could find that the flood waters escaping the canal through the breaches possessed greater volume and greater kinetic force than they would have had absent the Association's negligence, and that this contributed to appellants' injuries." Id. at 339, 576 P.2d at 527.