While the incident described below that led to litigation happened in Hawaii, it’s certainly worth reporting because of all the rain we have had this year. The families of seven people who died in the Ka Loko Dam breach on March 14, 2006, and property owners who suffered damage, have reached a settlement with the State of Hawaii, James Pflueger, the dam owner, the Mary Lucas Trust, and others. A judge in Hawaii has approved the settlement, but the amount of money paid by the Defendants is confidential.
The settlement avoids a long, complicated and emotional trial, which had been scheduled to begin in February and projected to last for nearly a year. During mediation lawyers for all parties were able to reach the out-of-court agreement. Teresa Tico, a Kauai-based lawyer, who represented the Plaintiffs, had this to say:
The settlement was very important. It’s been a very emotional case. This day is a great day for justice. It brings closure to our clients.
Seven people died when the Ka Loko Dam breached after weeks of heavy rain, sending 1.6 million tons of water downstream through the property of an individual. Seven people were swept away and died. Other downstream property owners, including well-known entertainer Bette Midler, also filed lawsuits.
A special grand jury on Kauai indicted the dam owner last year on seven counts of manslaughter and one count of first-degree reckless endangerment in connection with the dam breach. The state alleges that the owner covered the dam’s spillway, an emergency feature used to keep water from flowing over the top of the dam.
Source: Star Bulletin
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