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Missouri River Flood Case


Additional pictures and charts

Massive, atypical flooding along the Missouri River since 2006, including the catastrophic flood of 2011, threatened the livelihoods of landowners, farm communities and agri-businesses in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.  On March 5, 2014, the national law firm Polsinelli PC, based in Kansas City, Missouri, serving as lead counsel, and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, based in Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC, challenging the U.S. Army corps of Engineers’ management of the Missouri River.  On October 15, 2014, the suit was amended adding new claimants. 

Ideker Farms, Inc., et al. v. United States of America, Case No. 14-183L, is brought by farmers, landowners and business owners from six states who sustained losses from one or more floods occurring in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.  Flooding continued in 2015, 2016 and 2017.  Plaintiffs are asserting that the Corps’ priority for flood control and the policies and procedures, which endeavored to protect landowners near the river from flooding, changed by 2004 to conform to environmental laws and regulations.  Charging that the Corps’ actions have violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment that bars the Government from taking private property without just compensation, Plaintiffs are seeking reasonable and just compensation for losses caused by the flooding.  The suit is not a class action, nor is it a suit predicated on the Corps’ mismanagement of the river. 

The Honorable Nancy B. Firestone was assigned by the Federal Claims Court to try the action.  Forty-four “bellwether” Plaintiffs deemed “representative” of all of the Plaintiffs were selected for the purpose of trial.  The bellwether locations extend from Bismarck, North Dakota, to Leavenworth, Kansas.  The case was bifurcated into two phases:  Phase 1 addresses liability as to the causation of the flooding, and Phase 2, if necessary, would address losses incurred.  Extensive discovery proceedings on Phase 1 ensued through late 2016, with over 100 depositions being taken and in excess of 20 million documents being produced. 

Trial on Phase 1 began in the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri on March 6, 2017, moved to the Federal Claims Court in Washington, DC on April 24, 2017, and recessed on June 23, 2017 for post-trial briefing and closing argument. Over 90 witnesses testified during 55 days of trial for the presentation of the evidence.  Following the completion of post-trial briefing, closing arguments in the trial resumed in Kansas City the week of November 13, 2017 and concluded December 1, 2017. Trial lasted a total of 63 days.  Judge Firestone’s ruling on Phase 1 is expected by the end of January 2018.  The ruling in the case is expected to carry national significance, helping set precedent for “takings” cases by flooding.  The validity of such cases was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. U.S., 133 S.Ct. 511 (2012).

This website is for informational purposes only, and intended for citizens and property owners who are interested in this pending action and/or concerned about the recurrent flooding in the Missouri River Basin since 2006.

play.pngMissouri Corn Merchandising Council and Missouri Corn Growers Association

play.pngBig Lake: Impacted by recurrent flooding, Big Lake residents speak to the hardships and hurdles they've faced as a result of flooding.