Negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of San Jose flood victims

A new negligence lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of dozens of San Jose flood victims.

The suit targets the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the City of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara on behalf of more than 150 households.

One of the attorneys who filed, Amanda Hawes, calls the Coyote Creek flooding which happened almost a year ago "a preventable nightmare."
Sinia Ellis who is one of the plaintiffs, witnessed the flooding from her apartment balcony in the Rock Springs neighborhood of San Jose.
"There was no warning. I came out- I looked. I thought all of San Jose was flooding," said Ellis.
Attorneys say Ellis is part of the new lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of 150 households.
"They knew and should have known this was going to be a 100-year flood year. They had plenty of time to take precautionary steps and didn't do it," said legal assistant Ted Smith.
The lawsuit accuses the agencies of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming not enough was done to protect San Jose residents before and after Coyote Creek flooded its banks on February 21, 2017.
The City of San Jose responded to the lawsuit saying it continues to support flood victims and said: "The City does not believe the City has any legal liability and denied the claims under operation of law."

The Santa Clara Valley Water District say it has made changes to reduce future flood risks including lowering the water level at Anderson Reservoir, building a temporary flood wall in Rock Springs and removing vegetation from Coyote Creek.

The County of Santa Clara responded:
"It is unfortunate that the county is being included in this litigation, when the county does not have responsibility for evacuations within city limits."
Legal analyst Steven Clark said while the plaintiffs' stories of loss are compelling, it will come down to if the agencies took reasonable precautions and actions before and during the flood. 

"It's still going to be difficult for them to collect in court because there are many protections for government agencies against lawsuits. At the end of the day it's the taxpayer that will foot the bill," said Clark.

This brings the total number of flood-related lawsuits filed against the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District to 8.