July 10, 2008
Fairfax County and Virginia Department of Transportation Named As Defendants in Huntington Flood Class Action Suit
Today the law firms of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca and The Dominion Law Center filed a lawsuit under the Virginia Constitution against Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDoT) on behalf of over 100 residents of Fairfax County's Huntington neighborhood for $20 million in compensation for damages caused by the massive flood of Cameron Run on June 25, 2006.
In the 2006 Flood, the flow depth of Cameron Run jumped more than seven fold, rising from about one foot deep to almost 14 feet deep. At that magnitude, the flood waters overwhelmed the southern bank of the Run and engulfed much of the Huntington neighborhood. The flood waters burst basement windows, backed up through the storm and sanitary sewer system, and completely filled the basements of many homes right up to the first floor with sewage-laced water.
The 2006 Flood exposed the families living in Huntington -- many of whom included babies, small children, and the elderly -- not only to the immediate dangers of rapid flood waters, but to the health risks of sewage and bacteria in the flood waters, and in the resulting brown/gray slime left on the walls, floors, carpets, furniture, and other household items. The flood caused extensive personal property damage and permanently reduced the value of these homes.
The Virginia Constitution guarantees just compensation for citizens when their property is damaged as a result of a public project or action. The Huntington complaint alleges that the flood -- and the level of damage it caused -- was the direct result of the building of the Beltway, which occurred before modern environmental laws had been enacted:
-- To build the Beltway, Cameron Run was actually moved from its original location to a point over 380 yards closer to the Huntington neighborhood. -- Marshland that served as an important drainage system for the area was also filled in to provide a base for the Beltway. -- The Beltway itself, built along the bank of the new channel for Cameron Run opposite the Huntington neighborhood, acts as a concrete wall forcing any overflow from the Run towards the Huntington homes. -- The new channel dug for Cameron Run is significantly narrower than it was before it was moved, and that channel has not been dredged since it was dug. After decades of development in the area, Cameron Run has filled with what was estimated 10 years ago as 5 feet of sediment.
"Our area has benefited from the Beltway, but the way it was built created a significant cost that the folks living in Huntington now have to bear," said Bob Cynkar, of Washington, DC's Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca. "These are not wealthy people, and it is not fair for them to pay this special price of danger to their families, and damage to their homes and property. With nothing being done to protect this neighborhood, the situation is only going to get worse. These people live in constant fear of being flooded every time the region experiences a major rain storm."
Huntington neighbors interested in learning more about this case can call (703) 621-3575.
About Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman
Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman is a law firm with a national reputation located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more than 20 years, Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman has successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases involving drug and pharmaceutical recall claims, defective products liability cases, mass tort and environmental liability exposure claims, and antitrust cases for the plaintiffs it has represented. Many of the cases have been litigated through the specialized Multidistrict Litigation process established by Congress for the consolidation and coordination of cases having common issues. In addition, the firm also represents individuals who have been seriously injured as a consequence of medical malpractice, vehicular accidents, premises liability and other actions. The firm has litigated such cases in state and federal courts across the country.
About Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP
Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca LLP is a Washington, D.C. law firm whose lawyers have worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, in federal regulatory agencies, on Congressional committee staffs, in public interest organizations, in large international law firms, in legal academia, and in the public defender's office. The firm represents a diverse array of clients -- individuals, businesses, state and local governments, public interest organizations, unions, and others -- in litigation and related matters brought before federal and state trial and appellate courts, the Executive Branch, government regulatory agencies, and Congress. These cases involve a variety of legal subjects, including product liability and consumer protection; government regulation; antitrust, securities, and corporate governance; civil rights, property rights, and other constitutional matters; and healthcare and personal injuries.
About the Dominion Law Center, P.C.
The Dominion Law Center, P.C. is a northern Virginia law firm whose principal is actively engaged in representing individuals and businesses in litigation and related matters brought before state trial and appellate courts. The types of cases handled by the firm include medical malpractice, product liability, and personal injuries; corporate and general business law; real estate litigation and settlements, and constitutional matters.
Media Contacts: Geoff Livingston (703) 568-3016 [email protected] Bob Cynkar (202) 587-5063 [email protected]
SOURCE: Livingston Communications