A settlement to a homeowner lawsuit against Washoe County and Steamboat Canal & Irrigation Co. alleging property damage due to water escaping from the ditch was approved Tuesday by county commissioners.
According to the April 2017 suit filed in Second Judicial District Court by John and Kathryn Dudley, Steamboat Ditch flooded between spring 2016 and spring 2017, causing damage at their residence, 35 Francovich Court. This happened after annual ditch maintenance in 2016, which was when a tracked vehicle slid down the ditch wall next to the Dudley’s property, damaging the wall.
“With the onset of the mega winter of 2016-17 and the unprecedented series of atmospheric rivers that hit the area in that time, the saturation of the ground and underneath their house was exacerbated,” Nathan Edwards, deputy Washoe County district attorney, said in a memo to commissioners.
“Major repairs and/or modifications were done to the property in order to stop the flow of water under their house, including reconstruction of drainage features, the removal of a large backyard concrete patio and the construction of retaining walls.”
Steamboat Canal & Irrigation’s insurance carrier will pay the Dudley’s $50,000 and the company will repair the ditch starting upstream from the existing head gate, the settlement states. Washoe County, which has a maintenance agreement with Steamboat, will also pay the Dudley’s $50,000. All parties will pay their own legal fees.
Edwards maintains defendants don’t admit fault but are agreeing to a compromise to end the case. However, he said the agreement doesn’t apply to any different claims that may arise in the future.
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.