Union Pacific sued over drainage ditch problems

Michelle Massey Jan. 25, 2011, 3:27am

Waggaman property owners have filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific seeking repair to its storm water drainage facilities underneath the railroad's track.

The owners claim that the railroad tracks are essentially acting as a dam, allowing water to back up and causing their properties to be flooded.

Esta M. Delaney, Albert S. Delaney III, Shannon Delaney Patin, Rebecca Delaney McCandless, David K. Delaney, Patrick J. Delaney, and Lauren Delaney Camardelle filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad on Jan. 19 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, under its four sets of railroad tracks, Union Pacific owns a drainage ditch running parallel to the Delaney property and also owns two culverts perpendicular to the drainage ditch. The ditch and culverts are supposed to drain storm water south from the area of the Delaney property.

The family claims that when Union Pacific constructed the fourth set of tracks, the Delaney's land extension against the drainage ditch began to erode. The lawsuit argues that three to four feet of land has eroded and that their property continues to erode into the drainage ditch with each hard rain.

Further, the Delaney family states the drainage ditch has overflowed its banks and flooded the side and back yards of their home. The family allege they fear that their mother, Esta Delaney, will suffer a stroke or heart attack due to the stress and mental anguish resulting from these flooding events.

Union Pacific is accused of failing to provide adequate drainage along and under its railroad tracks.

The family are asking the court for more than $100,000 in property damages and mental anguish, plus interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

They are plaintiffs are represented by New Orleans attorney Laurence Cohen.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00103

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