- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

VINTON, La. (AP) - Some people whose homes along the Sabine River were flooded last month say they’re considering suing the operators of the Toledo Bend Dam.

KPLC-TV reports that Vinton residents gathered Thursday to discuss a possible lawsuit. The dam is jointly run by two Sabine River Authorities, one each from Texas and Louisiana.

Adam Nichols, a lawyer from Beaumont, Texas, says the government agencies improperly took residents’ property.

Dam operators say Toledo Bend isn’t designed for flood control and they were following engineering rules to protect the dam from being damaged.

Nichols says the Louisiana and Texas state constitutions both call for governments to pay compensation when they take property.

“Even though they were following those guidelines they still essentially took, opened those floodgates and it ended up taking everyone’s property, they knew that was going to happen,” Nichols said.

The lawyer acknowledged that the authorities have defeated previous lawsuits.

Some residents say they’re not so much interested in collecting damages as forcing the dam operators to change how they release water.

“I think Sabine River Authority is 100 percent to blame because they’re supposed to be some intelligent people that run that dam,” said Fulton Manuel, a resident of Niblett’s Bluff. “If I don’t get any money at all, OK, I understand that. But I do want somebody in government to get on their tail about regulating the water.”

Manuel said his home suffered $60,000 to $70,000 in damage.

The Toledo Bend Reservoir hit a record high water level on March 10 following heavy rains, prompting managers to open all the floodgates. The water flooded hundreds of homes along the Louisiana-Texas border south of the dam, with the Sabine River setting records in the Texas towns of Burkeville, Bon Weir and Deweyville.


Information from: KPLC-TV, https://kplctv.com

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