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Residential Homeowners Sue Engineering Firm for Hurricane Harvey Damage

Residents of the Riverstone community, located in a suburb of Houston, have filed suit against Costello, Inc., an engineering firm, for faulty design of the Riverstone community which caused severe rainwater intrusion into hundreds of homes during Hurricane Harvey. There are 423 homeowners that are included in this lawsuit. The homes that were damaged are located in five different subdivisions in the Riverstone community: Sweetbriar, Millwood, The Orchard, Lost Creek, and Shadow Glen. All these subdivisions are located within Levee Improvement District 19 (LID 19) which was created in 2007. Other neighborhoods within the Riverstone community are located within LID 15 which was created in 2001.

LIDs are designed to remove developments out of flood plains and to prevent rainwater intrusion into homes. The lawsuit states that Costello was responsible for the engineering and design of the storm water management systems for both LID 19 and LID 15. This includes the pumping stations, channels, retention basins, and levees for each LID. Costello designed these LIDs to keep water from the Brazos River out of the LID and to evacuate rainwater from the LID. LID 15 and LID 19 were designed to handle the same amount of rainfall and flooding of the Brazos River.

Rain amounts during Hurricane Harvey in and around the Riverstone community were not unprecedented. In the 100 years preceding Hurricane Harvey, several storms delivered more rain to the same areas than that of Hurricane Harvey. During Hurricane Harvey, several feet of water filled the streets and homes of the residents of LID 19, while the residents of LID 15 did not experience such catastrophic flooding even though both LIDs were designed to the same standards.

Documents obtained by the attorneys for the homeowners and reviewed by experts familiar with LID designs revealed that Costello’s designs for the levees and pumping stations in LID 19 were completely inadequate and was a direct cause to the loss and destruction of hundreds of homes. They discovered that Costello made numerous errors when designing the storm water management system of LID 19 because it was not designed to handle rainfall amounts that should have been reasonably anticipated. Additionally, Costello failed to account for rainwater that would drain from LID 15 into LID 19 after a neighboring levee was previously removed. As a result, these homeowners and their children have been displaced from their homes and have many months and years of costly repairs and rebuilding to follow.

If you or a loved one has suffered damages to your home in the Riverstone community as a result of Hurricane Harvey, the experienced lawyers at the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner can assist with your claim. Call us today at 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884 for your free consultation.

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