North BR flood victims file suit against parish, state

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 51 residents claims the August 2016 flood damage in North Baton Rouge was caused by negligence on the part of the state and parish.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs would not have sustained damage if the Louisiana Department of Transportation and East Baton Rouge parish would have properly opened "all pumps and drainage valves."

"Plaintiffs believe and assert that various drainage, valve (sic), pumps and or street water management systems were not operating or failed to be operating during the time immediately preceding, during or after the August 2016 flood event," the lawsuit says.

While 51 defendants are named, the lawsuit indicates others might be eligible to join the lawsuit.

The main plaintiff in the lawsuit, Bob Applegate, says the parish resurfaced Winbourne Avenue early in 2016 during a time prior to the flood. Applegate says there is a major drainage pipe under that roadway with valves at each end. Applegate claims workers closed the valves during the construction but failed to reopen them after the construction was over.

Applegate says the closed valves along Winbourne Avenue led to massive flooding in the area including his home.  He says his home is located about two blocks from there, along Eaton Street. He says his home is two feet off the ground and took in nearly five feet of water during the flood.

There are four pumps located in East Baton Rouge parish to move rainwater to other areas.

The state operates one pump in the parish, located along Interstate 110 at the Governor's Mansion curve.

The parish has three pumps it operates including one near the new Mississippi River bridge along River Road, one at the Bluebonnet Blvd underpass and a third at the Acadian underpass.

Representatives with the parish and state did not immediately return emails seeking comment on the lawsuit which was filed last Friday in district court.

A full copy of the lawsuit can be seen below.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.