LUMBERTON — Nearly 30 residents are waiting for a response to lawsuits filed against the city of Lumberton and the state of North Carolina claiming their actions caused Hurricane Florence floodwater to be rerouted onto their property, according to court documents.
The city has not received the complaint filed against them, Holt Moore, city attorney, said Monday.
“I don’t have a comment at this point because I have not seen it. We have not received any lawsuit against the city at all, whatsoever,” Holt said. “That’s not to say it won’t come. All I can say is that I haven’t seen anything yet.”
The 16-page lawsuit was filed Oct. 2 by Garris Neil Yarborough, a Fayetteville attorney with Yarborough, Winters and Neville, P.A.
“Earlier this week my law firm filled 29 lawsuits regarding flooding which was caused by the diversion of water by the state and the city at VFW Road and the CSX,” Yarborough said.
CSX Corporation owns the railroad track that passes under Interstate 95, where a temporary berm was built in an attempt to prevent Hurricane Florence from entering West and South Lumberton.
The plaintiffs in the legal action are Ottis and Apsie Murray, Carlton and Denise Foley, Cathy Walters Foley, Marsha and Kenneth Davis, Randy Zellers, David and Wanda Hester, Kenneth and Jennifer Cutbush, Bobby and Donna Barden, Roger and Susan Hedgpeth, Jessie and Holli Pittman, Bart Richardson and Sally Richardson, Bucks Properties LLC; Mark and Carol Cabral, John and Stephanie Gist, Steven and Sharon Costa, Mark and Millicent Jones, Jerry Michael Townsend, Allen Keith Shell, William and Amanda Campbell, Mary Britt, Susan Hayes, Edwin and Pamela Wright, Brenda Hunt, Steven and Ginger Cullereth, Natalie Rose Davis Lewis, William and Jamin Kozak, Giles and Sherry Floyd, Henry and Dinah Griffin, and Velton and Debra Townsend.
The causes of action laid out in the lawsuits are inverse condemnation, gross negligence and constitutional claim.
Court documents indicate the plaintiffs are asking for
— An award more than $25,000 from the city an the state, or from both.
— Reimbursement of reasonable costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, appraisal fees and engineering fees, actually incurred because of the inverse condemnation proceedings.
— Pre- and post-judgment interest as may be allowed by law.
— In the alternative, an award under their constitutional taking claim from the state, the city or both as the facts may disclose in an amount in excess of $25,000.
— The plaintiffs be reimbursed, under their constitutional taking claim, their reasonable costs, disbursements and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, appraisal fees and engineering fees, actually incurred.
— In the alternative, an award under their gross negligence claim from the state, the city or both as the facts may disclose in an amount in excess of $25,000.
— The award of such court costs, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, as may be allowed by law.
— A trial by jury.
— Such other and further relief as the court deems appropriate.
Defendants in a civil lawsuit typically have 30 days to respond from the date the lawsuit was filed, according to North Carolina rules of Civil Procedure.
Annick Joseph can be reached at [email protected]