The Shindler-area families who successfully sued South Dakota for a poorly designed highway that flooded their homes in 2010 say the state is violating federal law by refusing to pay attorney fees in the case.
A jury awarded the five families $1 million in 2014, and the state Supreme Court upheld that decision on a 3-2 vote last fall. The state’s high court declined to order payment of attorney’s fees, however, saying state law doesn’t require it.
That law requires the payment of legal fees to those displaced by the actions of the government, and that’s what Sioux Falls lawyer Mark Meierhenry said happened to his clients.
The jury and high court agreed that the state failed to heed its own engineers’ warnings about possible flooding and built culverts on Highway 11 that were too narrow to handle the water from major rain events.
As carried in AL