Three Texas residents whose children were injured when floodwaters swept 20 people to their deaths at an Arkansas campground have a filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Forest Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The claim, filed by three residents of Smith County, Texas — Natisha Rachal and Benjamin and Judy Pate — seeks damages for personal injury and wrongful death in connection with a June 11, 2010, flash flood at the Albert Pike Recreation Area near Glenwood. The federal agencies are accused of failing to “properly maintain the severe weather and flooding warning system” at the campground and not correcting “known communications problems that prevented campers from learning of the imminent danger of flooding.”
Seven children and 13 adults from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas died after heavy rains inundated the remote valley in the Ouachita Mountains and pushed the Little Missouri River out of its banks. The Plaintiffs’ sons were camping with nine others, including one of the boys’ fathers, Anthony Smith, who died along with five others. The campground has a documented history of flooding events dating back to 1940, according to allegations in the Complaint, and it’s claimed that the Forest Service “negligently failed to post flood hazard warning signs and notices or to otherwise warn campers of the dangers of flooding in the area.”
Weather Service forecasters sent warnings four times in a single hour to advise people of the potential for flash flooding, but those warnings were issued in the middle of the night and never reached those at the campground. The camp had no ranger on-site, no cellphone service and no sirens, and deputies at the nearest sheriff’s departments were at least an hour’s drive away. After the flood, workers installed a new transmitter so weather-alert radio signals could reach the campground.
Roy Payne, a lawyer with Gregorio, Gregory & Payne, located in Shreveport, La., represents the family in this case. Another Louisiana family, which lost three of its members in the flood, filed a lawsuit last year. It will be interesting to see how these cases develop as they progress through the system.
Source: Claims Journal
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.