On April 23, 2012, a second amended complaint was filed in Federal Claims Court on behalf of Missouri farmers, alleging the United States Army Corps of Engineers destroyed, severely damaged, and devalued their property when they elected to operate the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway by destroying large portions of the frontline levee with explosives. The case alleges the explosions caused flood waters and accompanying sand and gravel to inundate and destroy crops, property, businesses, buildings, and infrastructure, compromising approximately 130,000 acres of Mississippi and New Madrid Counties, with flood waters from the Mississippi River. When the levee was breached, a 15 foot wall of water crashed through homes, farms, and businesses, utterly devastating structures, land, and possessions.
In the aftermath of the breaches, deep sand and gravel deposits were left on the farmland. Drainage ditches that routinely and customarily serve to catch and divert excess water away from farmland were overwhelmed with deposits of sand, gravel, silt, and detritus, substantially impairing and destroying their efficacy.
The lawsuit argues taking of property and flowage easements without just compensation is in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The complaint further seeks compensation to address sand and gravel deposits remaining on the Plaintiffs’ property.
The plaintiffs are represented by Benjamin D. Brown of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Kathleen A. Wolz of Cook, Barkett, Ponder & Wolz, L.C.