The Nevada District Court handed a victory to three plaintiffs claiming damages from flooding caused by reckless development approved by Reno (2/11/21). The court ruled decisively that Reno was liable for more than $750,000 in flood damage plus interest. Judge Breslow granted summary judgment and awarded the plaintiffs the damages that they had requested, and struck numerous City witnesses for failure to properly disclose them. Furthermore, the court sanctioned the Reno attorneys $1,500 for failing to admit the truth of basic facts about the case, such as whether the Plaintiffs has water on their property at any time during 2017. This ruling will be brought before the Reno City Council to determine whether the City will appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. If the City appeals and loses it will likely be liable for additional costs and attorney’s fees. Councilmember Brekhus has already expressed her opinion that the city should settle with the plaintiffs.
This ruling is only part of the story. There are still 27 plaintiffs remaining in Federal Court cases besides the three referred to above. The three state court plaintiffs were part of a class-action suit that had been “decertified” by the Nevada district court. Since the initial trial, the federal requirements had changed so that the remaining Swan-Lake flooding victims can now file their cases directly in Federal Court. The federal case is bolstered by Reno’s loss in state court.