Lawsuit claims railroad negligence led to flood damage, property loss

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) – Palestine residents who lost property during heavy flooding in 2016 have filed a federal lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad, according to KLTV news partner The Palestine Herald-Press.

The Herald-Press reports that the lawsuit alleges the railroad failed to maintain drainage systems and culverts leading to property damage and loss during flooding. The suit alleges similar poor conditions in 43 counties across the state.

The suit includes photos of blocked drainage pipes and closed culverts. It also shows damage to residents land from standing water, the newspaper reports.

“We want them to remove, clean, and or replace with larger culverts the areas where water that is flowing along the natural fall line will be able to pass under the tracks so it can keep on going,” says Charles Nichols an attorney for the plaintiff. “There’s a safety and health issues that we want the public to be aware of until this works it’s way through the court system

The lawsuit lists Cynthia Smalley, of Palestine, as the chief complainant. Smalley’s home was destroyed during the 2016 floods.

She and her family met with railroad representatives and told them a culvert in the area was damaged, the Herald-Press reports, but Smalley said the company has not made efforts to compensate her family.

“In the suit, Union Pacific said it had invested roughly $34 billion in its network, operations, and infrastructure between 2008 and 2017,” the newspaper says.

A representative from Union Pacific says while they are aware of the suit and the issues, they cannot comment on pending litigation.

The amount the families are asking to be awarded has not been specified at this time.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved. The Palestine Herald-Press contributed to this report.

Updated: May 3, 2018 — 1:55 PM

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