Was your home or property destroyed by the Boyce Hydro Midland flood? We can help!
Our Michigan dam failure lawyers are investigating cases for victims of the Midland May 2020 dam failures. You may qualify to sue Boyce Hydro for your damages and join a class action lawsuit. There are strict time deadlines to file your claim so it is important to act now.
Thousands of Midland area homes and businesses were evacuated due to failing Edenville and Sanford dams that have flooded the surrounding areas. The devastation and damage are unparalleled and Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency.
The Edenville Dam, located on the border of Midland County and Gladwin County, failed late on May 19, 2020. The Sanford Lake Dam subsequently failed the same afternoon.
The breaches have caused extensive flooding and it is possible that downtown Midland could soon be under nine feet of water.
The Tittabawassee River in Midland entered major flood stage Tuesday morning. By that afternoon, the Tittabawassee River in Midland and the Rifle River near Sterling had reached their major flood stage.
The Edenville Dam on the Tittabawassee River, which is owned by Boyce Hydro, breached Tuesday evening.
A flash flood warning issued by the National Weather Service warned to expect flooding of small creeks, streams and other low-lying areas. This has turned out to be a major catastrophe and likely has resulted from poor maintenance and negligence by the dam owners.
The Edenville Dam had its hydro-power generating license revoked in 2018.
Simply put, this was an accident waiting to happen and completely preventable with proper maintenance. Residents in the area, as well as businesses, might lose everything as a result of these floods. Surrounding areas include Midland, Beaverton, Saginaw, and other areas affected by the flood.
The Edenville Dam and Sanford Lake Dam are privately owned by Boyce Hydro. The company had prepared to sell the dams to a delegated authority working for Midland and Gladwin Counties. However, the sale had not been completed and Boyce Hydro is still the owner.
- Who is liable for a dam failure?
- Legal theories to sue in a dam failure
- Can I sue for the Edenville Dam failure?
- What are the damages in a dam flooding lawsuit?
About Boyce Hydro LLC
Boyce Hydro LLC is a private company incorporated in the State of Michigan. The owner of Boyce Hydro is Lee Mueller of Las Vegas. The corporation contact address is listed as 10120 W. Flamingo Road, Suite 4912, Las Vegas, Nevada. The resident agent has an office at 414 Townsend, Suite 201, Midland, MI.
Boyce Hydro operates the Secord, Smallwood, Edenville, and Sanford Hydroelectric Projects. These projects are located on the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers in Gladwin and Midland counties, Michigan. They control the water levels in the Midland County area to avoid flooding and to provide energy to the area.
The federal government revoked the owner’s license to produce power from the dam in 2018. The reason was simply because it was providing no power.
Boyce Hydro operates the Secord, Smallwood, Edenville, and Sanford Hydroelectric Projects. These projects are located on the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers in Gladwin and Midland counties, Michigan. They control the water levels in the Midland County area to avoid flooding and to provide energy to the area. The federal government revoked the owner’s license to produce power from the dam in 2018.
On July 26, 2018, as clarified on August 7, 2018, Boyce Hydro filed a Temporary Variance Application with the Federal Regulatory Commission. The purpose was to lower each reservoir about 4 feet in each of the dams. Boyce Hydro would draw down the reservoirs at a rate of 8 inches per day for inspections beginning on October 1, 2018. It would then begin refilling the reservoirs on or about October 1, 2018 until they reached normal water elevations.
Who is Liable for the Edenville Dam & Sanford Dam Failures?
Boyce Hydro, LLC, the dam owner, is responsible for the proper maintenance and upkeep of the dam. Lawsuits have been filed against the company, as well as owner Lee Mueller and other associated businesses. In addition, a lawsuit has been filed against the State of Michigan for failing to properly regulate the dam.
Dams are owned and operated by the government, as well as private corporations. The failure to properly operate a dam can have catastrophic consequences to people, property, and businesses.
A dam failure can cause serious damage to the major infrastructures of the surrounding area. This can include roads, highways, utilities, public transportation, and recreational areas.
In addition, houses, apartments, office buildings, and all types of businesses can be damaged or destroyed. Even farms and agricultural centers can sustain irreparable harm from a major flood. Those who suffer personal and financial harm from a dam failure can file a lawsuit.
History of Concerns and Violations for Boyce Power LLC
Boyce Hydro Power has history of violations for approximately 14 years, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The commission had repeatedly raised concerns about the dam’s ability to prevent flooding during extreme conditions because of its inadequate spillway capacity.
The State of Michigan also expressed serious concerns about the condition of the dam. In fact, on May 1, 2020 the State of Michigan filed a lawsuit against 10 defendants, including Boyce Hydro LLC and its co-manager, Lee Mueller. The lawsuit alleges that Boyce Hydro opened the gates of the Edenville Dam and lowered the level of Wixom Lake by about eight feet for an extended period in 2018 and 2019.
Mueller applied for a drawdown permit in 2019. His request was denied, but he still went on to lower the water levels anyway. However, on April 9, Boyce Hydro received approval from the state to raise the level of Wixom Lake to normal summer pool elevation for the spring of 2020.
Then on May 19, 2020, there was heavy rainfall in the area which raised the water levels. The Edenville Dam then collapsed, leaving total devastation in the entire Midland County Area. Over 11,000 residents were evacuated. Homes and businesses were damaged and destroyed due to water damage from the catastrophic flooding.
What are the Legal Theories to Sue in the Midland Dam Failure?
When a Michigan dam is privately owned or operated, there are several legal theories for victims to pursue against the company. These include claims of both strict liability and general negligence.
The legal theory of strict liability imposes liability on a dam owner for damages that occur regardless of the cause of failure. Essentially, the act itself gives rise to a legal claim.
The other theory is that of general negligence. This is the failure of the company to act in a reasonable safe and prudent manner under the circumstances.
Negligence can be proven by records and inspections showing the lack of proper maintenance, the failure to comply with state regulations, and the failure to regularly inspect the dam for the likelihood of failure.
Can I Sue Boyce Hydro for the Edenville Dam & Sanford Lake Dam Failures?
You may be able to sue the owners of the Edenville Dam and Sanford Lake Dam if you suffered personal injury or damage to your property.
The owner of the dam, Boyce Hydro, was given safety violations for several years by regulators. Its failure to take correct measures has caused catastrophic harm to families, businesses, schools, and local governments. If you were the victim of these terrible floods, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for your damages.
An experienced Michigan law firm can determine the extent of your damages and your right to sue.
How do I Join a Boyce Hydro Class Action Lawsuit?
Several class action lawsuits have been filed against Boyce Hydro LLC. There are both advantages and disadvantages to joining a class action lawsuit.
The class action litigation and individual lawsuits will be hard fought by all parties and you need an experienced Michigan law firm on your side. You need to make sure your rights are fully protected by attorneys that you trust.
Our attorneys will evaluate your individual claims and discuss with you the best options for your claims. We will then file your claim and work closely with you throughout the process.
What are the Damages in the Edenville Dam Flooding Lawsuit?
All lawsuits request recoverable damages from the party liable for the harm.
In a dam flooding case, there may be several types of compensation available to a single victim. First, a person can claim personal injury damages. These include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and other non-economic losses.
For a flood of this magnitude, a victim will likely have severe psychological damages in addition to any physical injuries.
Second, a person who suffers a financial loss to property or business can make an economic loss claim. This would include damage to homes, vehicles, and other personal property. Also, a business that has been destroyed or suffers a loss of income can also demand compensation.
Finally, if a person dies directly or indirectly as a result of the dam failure, floods, or other reason, the family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases demand settlement compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent, the loss of companionship, and any resulting financial losses.
Will my property insurance pay to repair my home or business? Many property insurance policies, including homeowner’s insurance and business insurance, have exclusions for damage caused by floods. This may or may not include water damage resulting from a flood caused by a faulty dam. An insurance lawyer can investigate whether you are covered for these losses.
Many provisions may exclude only natural disasters that result in flood damage. If you purchased additional flood insurance, there is a greater likelihood that you will be covered for the loss to your property and its contents.
Contact a Midland Dam Failure Lawyer for Help
If you suffered serious damage to your person or property from the dam failure, you need the help of an experienced Michigan law firm.
The funds you receive from FEMA and even your own property insurance may not be enough to cover your losses.
Our attorneys will listen to your story and determine if you are eligible to sue the Boyce Hydro and get a money settlement.
We charge no legal fees unless you win a settlement. Call now to discuss your case.
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