Sommers Schwartz attorneys Jason Thompson and Elaina Bailey filed a federal class action against the hydroelectric companies, owners, and operators believed to be responsible for the devastating floods in Midland, Michigan.
According to the complaint, on May 19, 2020, the 96-year-old Edenville Dam – one of several dams in the region of the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers – failed when its structure collapsed from heavy rains. As a result, the 2,600-acre Wixom Lake reservoir emptied, flooding the surrounding area and pushing water into Sanford Lake. The increased pressure caused the Sanford Dam to fail, expanding the flood zone to the city of Midland and beyond.
Homeowners and renters watched helplessly as floodwater overtook their residences, destroying walls, floors, windows, doors, furniture, home offices, home office equipment, and personal property. The water separated houses from their foundations, sending them floating. Boat lifts, docks, swimming pools were similarly destroyed.
The class action alleged the defendants are liable for negligent maintenance and repair of the dams, creating a public and private nuisance that endangered the community, causing a physical invasion of water constituting a trespass, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Because of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiffs – all Midland County and Sanford, Michigan residents – suffered extensive financial and emotional harm.