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Mass Tort Lawsuit filed on behalf of Mid-Michigan Flood Victims

June 2, 2020

Two nationally recognized personal injury law firms, Ven Johnson Law, PLC, and Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, together announce the filing of lawsuit on behalf of clients that have suffered devastating financial and property loss as the result of the severe negligence of the owners of the Edenville and Sanford Dams, located in Midland and Gladwin Counties, Michigan.  As a result of alleged negligence, the dams overflowed, collapsed and flooded hundreds of homes and buildings in May 2020. 

The defining difference between this legal filing and others for this tragedy which take a class action approach is that this mass tort filing allows individual property owners to be evaluated and compensated on the merits of their own situation, rather than as a “cookie cutter” or one-size-fits-all case.

A mass tort lawsuit was filed June 1, 2020, in the Midland County Circuit Court, in Midland, Michigan. The plaintiffs are homeowners in the cities of Beaverton, Hope and Midland, Michigan. The defendants include: Boyce Trust Hydro Property, LLC; co-trustees William D. Boyce Trust, Lee W. Mueller, Michael d’Avenas, Stephen B. Hultberg and JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Boyce Michigan LLC; and Edenville Hydro Property LLC.

As a direct result of the defendants’ carelessness, negligence, recklessness, and willful indifference to the rights of plaintiffs, the lawsuit seeks an amount to be proven at trial, including, but not limited to, diminution of the value of real property, the cost to repair or replace destroyed real and personal property, loss of business income, loss of profits, plus the value of their lost use and enjoyment of their property.

The May 19, 2020, the failure of the Edenville and Sanford Dams resulted in floodwaters that reach a height of 35 feet or more causing catastrophic damage to downstream areas. 

“This devastating event and the catastrophic consequences suffered by the communities harmed were entirely preventable,” said Ven Johnson, founder, Ven Johnson Law. “The defendants indisputably knew for years that these dams were inadequate, decrepit, unstable, unsafe, and would fail under predictable conditions.”

Since the defendants’ acquisition of the Edenville and Sanford Dams in 2006, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) repeatedly warned that the Edenville Dam was inadequate, unsafe, prone to catastrophic failure, and a major hazard to life and property downstream.  Between the time they first assumed ownership and responsibility for the dam and the present, the defendants refused to pay for much-needed repairs and upgrades, despite knowing that the Edenville Dam could fail at any time.

“As a direct result of the defendants’ carelessness, negligence and willful indifference, our clients have suffered damages as well as anguish and mental anxiety,” said Antonio Romanucci, founding partner of Romanucci & Blandin. “We feel strongly that this mass tort approach is the most beneficial for each client because it allows them each to be treated and compensated individually, rather than lumping them all into a single class.” 

“I was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan,” said Ven Johnson, founder of Ven Johnson Law. “Mid-Michigan is home. Not only do we need to help ensure flood victims are compensated, we need to be a part of a long-term solution strategy to ensure the dams are repaired and properly maintained so this never happens again.”

To bring justice to those impacted by this devastating flood, Ven Johnson Law and Romanucci & Blandin have partnered to assemble the best team of mass tort, personal injury, and insurance attorneys. This collaboration leverages Ven Johnson Law’s deep relationships in the community along with Romanucci & Blandin’s expertise on high profile, mass tort and class action cases.

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