THE WOODLANDS, Texas (FOX 26) - Almost 500 homeowners in The Woodlands area are now suing some of the largest developers in that area for negligence and deceptive trade practices. The homeowners say their brand new homes have flooded repeatedly in the last several years.
In the civil lawsuit filed in Harris County on Tuesday, the homeowners contend their homes were knowingly built in areas that would flood and they are now seeking more than $1 million from the Howard Hughes Corporation, The Woodlands Land Development Company and LJA Engineering.
Stanley Okazaki is one of the homeowners in the Timmaron and Timmaron Lakes subdivisions. He says he bought his home for more than $360,000 in 2013 and it was flooded with as much as eight inches of water throughout Hurricane Harvey. Since then, he has spent tens of thousands of dollars repairing his home.
Okazaki also says the developers never told him his property could flood.
"This is a premiere community," describes Okazaki. "I came here all the way from California and didn't know anything about flooding. I picked this community out of several others that I considered because it's supposed to be safe. As far as I know, they told me it wasn't in a flood zone area -- that was the one thing I asked. They said, 'Oh no, you're not in a flood zone area. You're all right.' So I said, 'OK.'"
Annie McAdams, one of the attorneys on this case, spoke exclusively to FOX 26 News on Wednesday. She says evidence shows the defendants should never have built homes in an area that is prone to flooding.
"The evidence is going to show that these developers not only ignored, but continued to build in an area that never really should have been built in," explains McAdams. "If you look at the storms, the most recent storms, there's one area of The Woodlands that continues to flood over and over again, whereas the rest of The Woodlands does not."
McAdams says the hope is this lawsuit will hold these development companies accountable and prevent any more homeowners from suffering more severe financial losses in the future.
"Our belief is that evidence is showing that Harvey is not an aberration -- that it is in fact going to happen again and again," adds McAdams.
A representative with the Howard Hughes Corporation said they have not been made aware of the lawsuit and do not have any comments at this time.