X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The court decides whether the evidence is legally sufficient to support the trial court’s determination that construction and operation of the Tarrant Regional Water District’s Richland-Chambers Reservoir caused a significant change in flooding characteristics that damaged the Gragg Ranch. HOLDING:The district argues that Gragg failed to establish a taking for two reasons. First, it claims that Gragg failed to adduce any competent or reliable evidence that the reservoir’s construction and operation caused the flood damage that the Ranch experienced. Second, if Gragg established causation, the District claims that its actions were merely negligent and do not, as a matter of law, constitute a taking. Although the court expresses no opinion on whether Gragg’s causation evidence “was far beyond a preponderance of the evidence . . . almost to the level of”beyond a reasonable doubt,’” as the trial court concluded, the record does contain legally sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s causation findings. The court considers whether those findings support the legal conclusion that a constitutional taking occurred. The court holds that the evidence in this case supports the trial court’s findings that the extensive damage the Gragg Ranch experienced was the inevitable result of the reservoir’s construction and of its operation as intended. The court acknowledges the concerns raised by several amici curiae who contend that holding the district accountable in these circumstances will have significant repercussions on water suppliers in the state. The court notes, however, that there was evidence that the design of the Richland-Chambers Reservoir is somewhat unique in a number of respects, including its comparatively limited excess storage capacity of about eight percent. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the district’s bifurcation motion. Although it is often preferable or even necessary to bifurcate the trial of an inverse condemnation case so that takings issues are tried to the bench before damage issues are submitted to the jury, this court’s statements in neither State v. Wood Oil Distributing Inc., 751 S.W.2d 863 (Tex. 1988), or State v. Heal, 917 S.W.2d 6 (Tex. 1996), support the District’s argument that separate trials must be conducted on taking and compensation issues in every case. OPINION:Harriet O’Neill, J., delivered the court’s opinion. Smith, J., did not participate.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.