Jury awards minimal damages in flooding lawsuit against city
This week, a jury heard a civil case against the city regarding flooding in the Gibson Flats area that the landowner claimed was caused by the city.
L. Johnson Inc. owns property south of the city limits and in his lawsuit filed in 2016 claimed that as the city has developed over the years, causing runoff and flooding to his property.
He was seeking more than $3 million in damages and made nuisance, trespass and inverse condemnation claims.
In 2022, the district court judge dismissed the nuisance and trespass claims.
This week, the jury heard the case for four days and on March 2, awarded $105,000 to Johnson for inverse condemnation.
City officials said the jury’s decision was a win for the city since it awarded significantly less than what Johnson was seeking in damages.
Johnson owns hundreds of acres in the Gibson Flats area.
The jury awarded $3,000 per acre for 35 acres.
The Johnson litigation was discussed during the proposed 21-acre Wheat Ridge annexation that City Commissioners denied in 2019.
During that annexation discussion, staff raised concerns over strain on public safety resources and storm water.
In the spring of 2019, when the Wheat Ridge project was being considered, Gibson Flats flooded again and several residents claimed that the city’s stormwater system is to blame.
Commissioners denied the Wheat Ridge project and the city was sued by the developer, Dan Huestis.
In 2021, a district court judge dismissed that suit, finding in favor of the city.