Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor's Statement Following Court Decision in Residents Against Flooding (RAF) Lawsuit

May 22, 2018 -- Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the constitutional claims brought by a group of Memorial-area residents, Residents Against Flooding (“RAF”). RAF sought to take from the City the right to determine when and where flood-control and street improvement projects will take place and to give RAF either court-ordered preferential treatment or control, through a special master, in assigning and implementing flood control projects in or near their neighborhood.

RAF alleged that street and drainage projects in or near that area, primarily through the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (“TIRZ”), had caused their houses to flood. However, the Court ruled that the infrastructure and drainage projects in that TIRZ did not involve their properties and that their claimed right to use their homes free from flooding is “too broad and unsupported by case law.”

As a result, the Court held that RAF’s members had not stated a claim for violation of either Texas’ or U.S. Constitutions’ due process/due court of law clauses. The Court also rejected RAF’s second claim that the City and TIRZ had caused flooding of their properties that constituted an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

“Hurricane Harvey caused a lot of devastation throughout Houston, and I am sympathetic to people whose homes were damaged by the flooding," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "Today, I am pleased the Court has not impeded the City’s ability to quickly and comprehensively address flooding issues. We will continue building for the future to be stronger and more resilient."