Homeowners in the Shoals file lawsuit against Cornelius Landing developer over flooding

Two homeowners in Cornelius Landing are suing the subdivision developer.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 4:20 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 7:02 PM

The first lawsuit has now been filed over February's historic flooding in the Shoals. Two families are suing the developer of their subdivision.

That neighborhood is Cornelius Landing just off of old Highway 20. Homeowners in the subdivision said the floods caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and believe it could have been prevented.

"It got in the home about two inches just right into the trim around the bottom and when it did that, it sucked up about 18 inches into the insulation," said Jesse Young about how much damage his home had in the floods.

Young and his neighbors, the Snipes family, are the two families filing suit against the developer, William Cornelius III, his company and the subdivision engineer. This lawsuit calls them negligent.

Young said he and his family were displaced for two months, paying for repairs out of pocket.

"We had to cut it out and take out every piece of insulation out on the outer wall. All the trim work had to come out, and it took a month to dry the house out," said Young.

Young and the Snipes family live right next to each other in Cornelius Landing. Behind their homes is a retention pond that they said should have stopped their houses from flooding.

"This was not just an act of God. This is something that could have been avoided," said Attorney Jon McGee.

McGee is representing both of the families and said they hired a hydrologist firm from Birmingham to do studies on the retention pond and why it didn't stop the homes from flooding.

"If there was a pump that had been put in place with a floating mechanism, that would automatically trigger. If water had gotten to a certain height, then it would have been pulled out of the retention area and put in the sewer lines," said McGee.

The 8-page lawsuit says the developer should have known the pond was about to overflow. Two families are asking for $100,000 each in damages, but they'll let a jury determine how much they should get for pain and suffering.

Both families told WAAY 31 the number one thing they want is for the developer to put a pump in to prevent future flooding.

"I just don't want every time it rains, am I gonna have to worry about sandbagging my house and uproot my family again to redo the house one more time," said Young.

McGee said they hope to settle the lawsuit and reach an agreement, but if they don't, they'll take it to a jury.

We did reach out to William Cornelius III for a comment. He told us he didn't know he was being sued, so he had nothing to say just yet.

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