Can Companies Be Held Responsible After Major Flooding Events?
On the surface, natural disasters like floods can seem too unpredictable to hold any one person or organization accountable for the property damage and injuries that follow. With experts calling the recent Midland County flood a “500-year flood event” – meaning that it should only happen about once every 500 years or so – many home and business owners may be unsure about their legal options.
While it isn’t always possible to anticipate a flooding event on this scale, however, dam owners still have a responsibility to keep dam infrastructure sound and in good working order. In the case of the Edenville Dam, which collapsed and caused another overflow at Sanford Dam, private dam owner Boyce Hydro Power LLC had a long history of safety violations prior to the May 2020 flood that could make them liable for residents’ losses.
Boyce Hydro: Ongoing Legal Battles with State Regulators
With more than 10,000 people displaced from their homes and businesses due to flooding throughout Midland County, the dam failures at Edenville and Sanford have already prompted legal action and accusations from all sides of the disaster. According to MLive, Boyce Hydro has issued an official statement blaming Michigan state regulators for being more concerned with endangered freshwater mussels than with resident safety. The company claims that the state’s department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) forced the company to artificially raise the levels of Wixom Lake, after finding that repeated drawdowns caused millions of mussels to die.
Of course, EGLE tells a very different story: After an October 2018 inspection, the agency maintained “strong concerns” about the spillway capacity at Edenville Dam, which was built in 1925. The dam needed roughly $8 million more in repairs to meet federal requirements, and because Boyce Hydro could not finance these repairs, the company lost its license to generate electricity at Edenville.
Representing Victims of the Midland County Flood
To ensure fairness prevails, a third-party investigation team will be analyzing the Midland County dam collapses and providing an expert analysis on how the failures began. Until then, it’s important for home owners and business owners to seek out qualified legal counsel after suffering property damage, injuries, and other losses in the flood. By filing an insurance claim or seeking restitution from Boyce Hydro, you may be able to recover compensation to pay for lost and damaged property, including homes and businesses.
If you’ve been affected by the Midland County 500-year flooding event, we invite you to contact our team at Grewal Law PLLC. As a full-service law firm with deep roots in Michigan, our hearts go out to all the victims of this tragedy – and with over 100 years of combined experience, we are committed to delivering the compassionate and powerful legal advocacy that Midland County residents deserve.
Our experienced attorneys can represent Midland County residents who live in:
Contact us at (888) 211-5798 to get started with a free consultation today.