MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (5/22/2020) - Four homeowners from Midland and Saginaw counties have filed a federal lawsuit against the owner of the Edenville Dam, claiming negligence for the flood damage they incurred.
All four residents claim their homes were destroyed because Boyce Hydro and its management didn't not properly maintain the dam, which failed on Tuesday evening after days of heavy rainfall.
The Edenville Dam failure caused Wixom Lake to drain almost completely within hours, sending a torrent of water down the Tittabawassee River to the Sanford Lake.
Floodwaters then overtook the Sanford Dam and led to record flooding in Midland and Saginaw County.
Three law firms are working with the plaintiffs in the 41-page lawsuit, who are seeking class action status for all residents affected by the dam failure and resulting floods.
They claim Boyce Hydro was warned that the dams were inadequate and at risk of failure when the company took over control of them in 2006. The lawsuit claims the defendants had a duty to improve the structures to prevent failure.
The homeowners are represented by Frank Petosa of Morgan & Morgan, Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer, and Rob Jenner of Jenner Law P.C.
The attorneys issued the following statement on the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday:
“This entirely preventable disaster has upended the lives and businesses of thousands, forcing residents into crowded shelters amid a pandemic and shutting down already-suffering businesses during a recession. We believe this is yet another case of corporate interests putting profits over people. Despite knowing the threat posed by these unsafe dams, the defendants allegedly refused to pay for much-needed repairs and upgrades. Instead, we allege they chose to try to conceal the deteriorating condition of the Dams. It’s unacceptable, and we will fight to hold them accountable for the tremendous and devastating harm they have caused.”