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Was it legal for Harris County to dig a ditch on our property…

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Was it legal for Harris...
Was it legal for Harris County to dig a ditch on our property to drain water polluted with horse urine and manure from the commercial property next to us? Is it legal that they constructed this ditch to drain water against the natural flow of water? The County has drainage easement rights on this piece of property we own, but we feel our property was damaged for improper reasons. Even worse is the fact that they allowed this 16 acre horse business to develop over the years without making them install any type of drainage system, and allowed them to bring in up to 2 feet of fill dirt and filled in a floodplain, flood way and sheet flow causing us and our neighborhood high water issues. Help!
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 22 minutes by:
6/25/2010
Lawyer: MShore, Attorney replied 8 years ago
MShore
MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25,285
Experience: Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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Thank you for the post, per the easement the ditch digging is lawful. You can however challenge the limits of the easement here under a theory that this recent digging extends beyond the intent of the easement.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I am not at all satisified and wonder how you could have thoroughly researched this in such a short time. You did not even answer the second question.
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 8 years ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,389
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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The other expert opted out and I thought I'd step in and try to help out since I'm in Texas.

Many questions of law take little or any research because it involves issues we already know about. The other expert is very knowledgeable and was absolutely correct. The issue of what can be done on easements is a basic issue of law and is pretty much the same across the US. Municipal easements are even easier because they rarely vary.

However, as to your second question it is a mingling of easement law, "tort" law, real estate law, and constitutional law.

While a city has a right to use an easement as they see fit they do not have a right to infringe upon your property use and value without compensating you for it. This is what is known as a "taking" even if it is unintentional.

You may have had a case against the horse farm, but the statute of limitations has passed on that, in addition to being barred by two legal theories known as "estoppel" and "laches".

I think that you have a case against the county or city who did the work causing the problems you have. Depending on when the last work was done by the horse farm, conceivably you would have a cause of action against them, although as I discussed above the statute of limitations is going to be an issue.

Thank you for allowing me to assist you. I believe I have answered all of the questions you asked so I would request that you please click the ACCEPT button so I receive credit for my work and leave feedback if you have a chance. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected. Please remember that we can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.

Several customers have asked how they direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to provide information for you just put “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line and I will pick up the next time I am online.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks. But, is it against regulations to drain water AGAINST the natural flow of water, as this ditch does exactly that. It blocks the natural flow of the water going to the north to Cypress Creek.
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 8 years ago
It isn't against the state regs, and if Harris county has regs they can break them if they want to. There are cases like this every year in Texas, usually one landowner against another for redirecting the flow of water. They are always tried under the nuisance theory.

Thank you for allowing me to assist you. I believe I have answered all of the questions you asked so I would request that you please click the ACCEPT button so I receive credit for my work and leave feedback if you have a chance. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected. Please remember that we can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.

Several customers have asked how they direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to provide information for you just put “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line and I will pick up the next time I am online.
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,389
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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Dwayne B. and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I paid my $38.00 but I call B.S. on you. For you to say that Harris County has regulations and they can, "Break them if they want to" is absolutely wrong, improper, unacceptable, and again, B.S.!

 

For a government entity to make and enforce rules and regulations for American citizens, and for there to be PENALTIES for these same citizens should they break these rules..........but for you to state that Harris County can break it's own rules is way out of the boundary lines. The TRUTH is that Harris County would be breaking it's own laws in a blatant state of hyprocrisy...but because they have the money and power grab, they can excuse themselves from abiding by the law. IT DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT OR JUST!

 

Check out the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament. Truth and Justice..............and yes.....you are getting this information for FREE!

Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 8 years ago
Thanks for the ACCEPT. Call BS if you like, but if you read the regulations put into place by each municipality you will see the language doesn't apply to them. They write the laws specifically where they are exempt, therefore they are not breaking the law. If the state regs covered it they would have to abide by them or if they wrote their own laws where they would cover themselves, they'd have to abide by them.
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