Court to decide on Carrollton erosion lawsuit

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 8:01 PM

CARROLLTON — A federal court will now decide whether the City of Carrollton is responsible for severe erosion that caused major damage behind several houses.

Homeowners — who call it “the battle on Barclay Drive" — filed a lawsuit, trying to force the city to pay for repairs. But city leaders have maintained Carrollton isn't responsible because the the damage is on private property.

Five Barclay Drive homeowners said they've watched their backyards slide toward Dudley Branch Creek for the last three years. They filed a lawsuit last year in a state district court in Denton County.

But now, that case has moved to a federal court and the homeowners are encouraged.

As they wait for the legal system to take its course, Barclay Drive homeowners are anxiously watching the skies. Every time there's heavy rain in Carrollton, they fear their homes will slide dangerously closer toward the creek.

"You can barely sleep," said Petra Chudejova, one of the homeowners. "It's scary. You think maybe the next morning or next minute you can just be in the creek."

A retaining wall built behind the houses failed, causing severe sloping in the backyards. The lawsuit claims the city caused the problems by failing to maintain the area, covering up drainage holes in the wall, which diverted water — resulting in erosion.

"We don't understand why the city is letting this go on and they're fighting it when this is a catastrophic situation," said Laura Brewer, another Barclay Drive homeowner.

The homeowners who sued claim the city repaired the retaining wall twice in the 1980s and 90s, but is no longer willing to take any responsibility for the backyard damage.

Carrollton officials won’t discuss the lawsuit. In the past, they’ve argued the Texas Constitution bars them and other cities from spending money on private property.

"If my clients were to lose, what is the city left with?" asked Bruce Turner, the homeowners' attorney. "This whole thing is going to fail. The slope and all these houses are going to end up on the creek. So what are they going to have here?"

The homeowners estimate it will cost up to $350,000 to repair the damage at each property.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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