City of Walker signs with lawyers for possible lawsuit against DOTD

City of Walker signs with lawyers for possible lawsuit against DOTD

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - The City of Walker has officially signed a contingency contract with the law firm DeGravelles Palmintier Holthaus and Fruge regarding flooding on I-12.

"We should have received a mild to moderate flood where houses would have gotten two to six inches of water. Instead, we have houses with three to six feet of water," said Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey.

Ramsey said the suit was not about money, but instead to shed light on a problem. He said the lawyers will file the suit against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and other responsible parties.

"Once they feel like they have all the information they need, then they will file. The initial filing will be against the DOTD and any other parties that may be held responsible for the construction of that type of design on the interstate without taking into consideration additional drainage," Ramsey said.

Because a contingency contract was signed, it means the city would only have to pay if they win.

Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry also said he is considering joining the potential lawsuit, adding he has been meeting with lawyers.

Ramsey calls the flooding in Walker a man-made disaster saying the concrete barrier built in the middle of I-12 kept all the water from being able to flow over the interstate and flooded out areas of Walker that would not have flooded otherwise.

He added the city spent three years cleaning out culverts and drains. They expected for the lowest points of Walker to flood with inches and maybe a few homes with one to two feet of water. Instead, he said the lowest parts of Walker were inundated with water.

"Literally it was a tidal wave of water that came into the city. It was not a slow rise. It was not a rainfall rise," Ramsey said.

The mayor added that individuals interested in filing a class action lawsuit may also contact this law firm.

DOTD issued the following statement Monday regarding the situation:

"As we continue to recover and rebuild to federal specifications we will continue to put the safety of the traveling public at the forefront of DOTD activities. Our future efforts will include lessons learned from the storm and how best to utilize this knowledge."

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