East Baton Rouge highway plan headed for construction litigation

Tensions between city-parish officials and a group of East Baton Rouge homeowners continue to rise over plans for the development of a four-lane highway. In addition to complaints that the city-parish failed to adequately compensate homeowners for land appropriated under eminent domain authority, residents have raised concerns over construction plans. As the project moves ahead, two homeowners have joined over a dozen others in filing a lawsuit, and it appears likely that the city-parish will soon find itself embroiled in construction litigation.

Homeowners in the area have noted a variety of defective design concerns. One significant issue centers on the redesign of a sewage system. A construction professional whose elderly parents live nearby believes that the proposed sewage system will back up the lines in two residential subdivisions and flood his parents' basement with untreated sewage.

Speaking on behalf of the city-parish, the Director of Public Works noted that the sewage plan received the approval of a professional engineer and offered his assurance that the plan would not result in any home flooding.

However, the elderly husband and wife have also expressed worry over the fact that the plan will locate the highway less than 10 yards from their bedroom. The design would force them to back their vehicle from their driveway directly onto the highway.

The city-parish has already expropriated the elderly couple's land, and they received a payment of $52,000. But their lawsuit claims the payment amount is "wholly inadequate and should be increased in supplemental pleadings filed after a full and complete appraisal."

Construction litigation of this kind often presents a complex array of concerns regarding design defects and proper application of the law. Anyone in the Baton Rouge area with construction lawsuit concerns will want to be aware of every option for obtaining a fair and equitable settlement.

Source: WAFB, "Homeowners in a land war with EBR," June 12, 2012

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