Taft v. Ball, Ball & Brosamer, Inc

In Taft v. Ball, Ball & Brosamer, Inc., 169 Ariz. 173, 174, 818 P.2d 158, 159 (App. 1991), a construction company was building "Reach 1B" of the Central Arizona Project canal when heavy rainfall caused the incomplete canal to overflow, flooding the plaintiffs' properties. The issue presented was whether the plaintiffs could show that the construction increased the flood damages beyond what would have occurred naturally. After citing the standard set forth in Markiewicz v. Salt River Valley Water Users' Ass'n, 118 Ariz. 329, 338, 576 P.2d 517, 526 (App. 1978), the Court reasoned as follows: The experts agreed that appellants' land would have been flooded to some extent absent any construction on Reach 1B. It is also conceded that appellants have not shown a specific dollar amount of damage sustained over and above that which they would have received, absent the Reach 1B construction activity. But appellants have shown that they received a greater amount of water and a greater flow rate of water than they would have received absent the construction. An expert testified that "more water usually means more damage," and that "generally the flood damage curve . . . goes up with increased discharge." As in Markiewicz, a jury could conclude that more water flowing at a greater rate contributed to appellants' damages. Therefore, in our opinion, there is sufficient evidence of causation in the record to preclude summary judgment on causation. Taft, 169 Ariz. at 177-78, 818 P.2d at 162-63.