The compensation portion of the mass action lawsuit regarding flooding of land along the Missouri River has been ruled on by Senior Judge Nancy Firestone.
Judge Firestone determined Ideker Farms of Holt County, Missouri, one of the three bellwether properties, is owed $3,698,887 plus interest, and $1,032,338 for levee repairs.
The plaintiff’s case was argued by attorney R. Dan Boulware of the Polsinelli law firm.
“We’re going to be probably in excess of $10 million for those three claims,” Boulware said. “All three bellwethers, including Ideker, have other properties in this lawsuit, this is just one of their properties.”
The case utilized the findings of Dr. Bruce Babcock, Leo Smith and Tim Keller to determine the fair market value of the bellwether’s properties.
The first phase of the trial began in 2014 and was decided in 2018. Firestone determined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was at fault for some of the flooding that occurred in four Midwest states along the Missouri River from 2007 through 2014, excluding 2011, because flooding that year was seen as unavoidable.
At that time, the estimated claims exceeded $300 million.
Boulware said his office disagrees with the decision on damages.
“For instance, Ideker had a farm home destroyed, that should have been compensated,” Boulware said. “She concluded that those are consequential damages.”
In all, there were more than 400 plaintiffs in the case, and there could be more who seek damages. However, they only have a limited amount of time to file claims, because the statute of limitations runs out after Dec. 31.
The initial argument from the landowners along the Missouri River against the Corps of Engineers largely included the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires just compensation for the government’s occupation of private land.
Boulware said he believes the federal government will appeal that initial decision by Firestone.