Dam failures and devastation.
Entire communities washed away.
There are people still living in campers after the Edenville and Sanford Dams failed in May.
“It’s terrible what’s happened,” said Tom Waun, an attorney. “The people we’re representing have been horribly injured by this. People are living without homes. They still owe on mortgages.”
The community is hurting and that’s why a new lawsuit representing 300 residents is being filed to take the DNR and EGLE to the Court of Claims.
They just want justice and compensation.
“What they’re looking is to get their lives back,” said Waun. “They have property they can’t use anymore. We had one client who had a $600,000 home and getting close to retirement. Whole home swept away in the flood and now he still owes a $200,000 mortgage with no piece of property.”
Waun is with Ven Johnson Law and they’re teaming up with another law firm – Romanucci and Blandin.
They say the state didn’t protect the people when they took control of the dam from Boyce-Hydro.
Boyce has since filed for bankruptcy.
“When the state took over, they knew Boyce was non-compliant,” said Waun. “They weren’t fixing the dams. They were a big issue and they didn’t do anything about it. They were in charge of the lake levels. They raised the level eight feet before this happened and they were the ones with the opportunity to lower the level.”
The suit claims that rise in lake levels contributed to the failure.
The next step was organizing the case and preparing for discovery.
“It’s still early, it’s gonna be a hard fight but we think these folks were horribly treated and we’re here to help them if we can,” said Waun.
TV5 reached out to EGLE and the spokesperson said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.