OROVILLE (CBS13) — A class action lawsuit was filed Friday against the Department of Water Resources by evacuees who were forced to leave their homes during the Oroville Dam Spillway emergency.
The suit could include close to 200,000 potential plaintiffs.
The lines of traffic stretched for miles, as folks frantically fled on that Sunday night in February. Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was on the brink of failure, and officials worried its waters could wipe away homes in multiple cities downstream, so they ordered 188,000 people to evacuate the area.
Now, three of those evacuees are suing the state. Attorneys say the Department of Water Resources has to be held responsible, claiming for years it failed to adequately maintain the Oroville Dam, which led not only to the crisis, but now the concern of residents, who are still worried about a future disaster, as well as property values.
The class action follows a legal claim filed last week by JEM Farms in Oroville, which claims dozens of acres of its walnut trees were washed away when officials opened floodgates during the dam crisis with no warning to surrounding residents and businesses.