New Hampshire Partner Bill Staar and Associate Lauren Jenkins obtained summary judgment in the Vermont Superior Court in favor of our client, a civil engineer on a road-building project. Without a license to do so, a co-defendant had transferred soil excavated from the project site to fill a depression on its own parcel. That parcel is positioned within a floodplain and adjacent to the property of the husband-and-wife plaintiffs. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene caused massive flooding in northern Vermont and resulting floodwaters substantially damaged the plaintiffs’ home.
The court found inadequate expert support for the allegations that: (1) the soil had caused flood levels inside the home to rise above what those levels otherwise would have been; and (2) assuming the soil had caused such a rise, the plaintiffs would have suffered any additional first-floor property damage. The plaintiffs had turned down a substantial settlement offer before the summary judgment ruling.