February 28, 2024

PAJARO — Greater than 500 residents and enterprise homeowners have filed a lawsuit in opposition to Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, in addition to numerous different companies and municipalities, alleging that every one accused events may have achieved extra to forestall the large floods that occurred in Watsonville and Pajaro between Dec. 31, 2022, and March 11.

The lawsuit was filed in December and names the counties of Monterey and Santa Cruz, metropolis of Watsonville, California Division of Transportation, Monterey County Water Sources Company, Santa Cruz County Flood Management and Water Conservation District and Pajaro Regional Flood Administration Company.

The swimsuit covers the early months of 2023, between New Yr’s Eve when a surge in rainfall at Corralitos Creek precipitated water to spill out into a number of neighborhoods in Watsonville and trapped residents of their houses, to March 11, when a breach on the Pajaro River levee resulted in flooding of the neighborhood of Pajaro and harm to a number of houses, companies and agricultural fields.

“On and round these dates, public enhancements, together with storm drain infrastructure and the general public works often called the Pajaro Flood Management Undertaking, failed and gave method at flows inside their regular working and design capability discharging water, silt and particles upon and throughout Plaintiffs’ properties all to the harm of Plaintiffs and their property,” per the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Brian Kabateck, Marina Pacheco and Annie Martin-McDonough of the Los Angeles regulation agency Kabateck LLP and Emily Ruby of the El Segundo agency Greenberg and Ruby Damage Attorneys, APC. The events had beforehand filed a declare in June.

The swimsuit claimed that the floods have been the results of the “defendants’ failure to correctly and fairly design, assemble, management, preserve, restore, examine and function public enhancements in a way that they have been legally obligated by.”

The swimsuit emphasised that floods have been recorded within the decrease Pajaro watershed because the nineteenth century, and a significant flooding occasion has occurred each decade since. The swimsuit cited prior floods in 1955, 1958, 1982, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2017 and 2018 as situations of the levee not being correctly maintained.

“In 1963, the USACE (U.S. Military Corps of Engineers) reported that the levee system is insufficient and solely offers 5 to eight-year safety,” per the lawsuit. “The usual safety assure is 100 years. A mission to enhance the levee system was approved by Congress in 1966, however for greater than 50 years, it has languished.”

Relating to the New Yr’s Eve flooding, the lawsuit alleged that floodwaters had escaped the channel on the southern financial institution of Corralitos Creek and flowed via low-lying agricultural fields on the floodplain the place it momentarily gathered in a drainage basin that was saved up privately and related to the fields, creating a brief dam alongside Freeway 152 and overwhelming the flood management channel at Bridge Road, clogging drainage inlets and flowing into neighborhoods, such because the senior Bay Village neighborhood.

“Plaintiffs are householders, renters, enterprise homeowners, and different people and entities whose property and lives have been, actually and figuratively, washed away with little to no advance warning,” per the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs’ properties and houses have been inundated with floodwaters, together with mud, silt and particles, which precipitated important stress to Plaintiffs, and harm to their actual and private property.”