"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." Proverbs 3:27
ONE MORE...Summary Judgement VICTORY!
Lane Farley, Kristi Kautz, and Richard Harwell recently obtained summary judgment in Harris County dismissing all claims against our utility client. This was a case which truly had about one of everything. 

Suit was filed against Fletcher Farley’s client by over one hundred homeowners, represented by multiple firms, alleging that heavy equipment mats from a construction project were swept into a nearby bayou during Hurricane Harvey, allegedly resulting in blockage of the drainage from the plaintiffs’ neighborhoods and flooding of more than seventy-five homes across two subdivisions. Plaintiffs brought a number of causes of action including negligence, gross negligence, nuisance, and violations of the Texas Water Code. They sought tens of millions of dollars in total damages. After jurisdictional issues were resolved by appeal all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, the case proceeded in Harris County. 

We conducted aggressive discovery as to plaintiffs’ lack of evidence that our owner client had controlled the means, methods, and details of the construction at issue, performed by an independent contractor, and therefore could not hold our client liable. Numerous detailed depositions were taken of the plaintiffs as to the source of the water entering their homes. Those depositions demonstrated that the mechanism of water intrusion was accumulation of rainfall rather than diversion of surface water, and therefore the Texas Water Code’s regulation of surface water did not apply. 

Armed with excellent written briefing by Richard Harwell, Kristi Kautz and Lane Farley successfully argued to the trial court that our client was both not vicariously liable for the construction mats installed by an independent contractor and not liable for violations of the Water Code. The Judge agreed that plaintiffs could not prevail on any causes of action asserted and granted our client a complete victory on this complex and financially significant case.
Doug Fletcher
Firm Managing Partner
Joanna Salinas
Managing Partner, Austin