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Doss v. City of Victoria – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Doss v. City of Victoria, No. 13-07-306-CV, 2007 WL 4442616 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi-Edinburg 2007, no pet.), the Thirteenth Court of Appeals addressed an argument that the plaintiff's allegation of a single incident of flooding was insufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction.

In that case, fifty-three homeowners sued the City of Victoria for damages to their homes resulting from high flood waters.

The City of Victoria installed storm and drainage sewers in the 1950's. Id.

In 2004, it hired a contractor for a construction project that included improving the water lines, sanitary sewers, and storm sewers. Id.

The contractor warned the City of Victoria that the sewer pipes were so occluded they presented a substantial risk of high flood waters and if the City proceeded with the project as planned without clearing the pipes, a flood risk could not be eliminated. Id.

The City of Victoria ordered the contractor to complete the project as originally specified. Id.

In November 2004, an unusually heavy rain flooded the plaintiffs' neighborhood and damaged their homes. Id.

The causes of action included a takings claim under Article I, Section 17. The trial court granted the City's plea to the jurisdiction. Id.

The court rejected the City's argument that a single flood event does not suffice to state a takings claim, finding that recurrence goes to the merits of the plaintiffs' claims and is not a pleading requirement to invoke the trial court's jurisdiction.