$10-Million Lawsuit Against City Moving Forward
POSTED: Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 5:14pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 6:06am
EL PASO - $10-million. That's how much of your money is at stake in a lawsuit against the City of El Paso. We first told you about the story a year ago, and now there's a major development in the case.
The 10 families suing the city say they won the right to present their case in front of a jury.
As we reported, they're suing the city because a water retention pond broke at the Clint Landfill and caused a landslide during the 2006 floods. The families say the City of El Paso managed the landfill at the time.
The landslide caused devastating problems for all the families, including local pecan farmer Guadalupe Ramirez.
"There's no giving up on this farm for me. I retired and sunk everything I had into this farm," Ramirez said.
The landslide sent tons of dirt onto his pecan farm, and the dirt fully covered the trunks of the pecan trees. Today, more than five years later, Ramirez is still trying to cleanup. He wanted to pay a professional dirt-removing company to do the work, but it would have cost $1.2-million.
"We spent a lot of money buying tractors and getting people to hall dirt out and trying to get this back up to speed, but we're not even close yet. We're not even close," Ramirez said.
After the landslide, Ramirez and the other families tried to get the city to send man power to help them cleanup.
"Initially we just wanted them to help us out, but they've ignored everything and didn't want to help us out with nothing," Ramirez said.
That's why they're suing the city in a case that an El Paso jury will soon hear .
"The business has not made any money. We haven't made any money. We've been making ends meet with me, my son and my wife working, doing other things to bring income," Ramirez said.
Not only is it hard to make money when you're spending it to cleanup, it's so dry the ground is cracking. The farm hasn't seen any good rain, and irrigation ditches are dry because Ramirez says the water district told him there's no more water for farming. Ramirez says the trees aren't getting enough nutrients, and leaves that are supposed to be dark green are more yellow. Some trees are also dying, and under-developed pecans are falling to the ground.
Ramirez says he's now praying for rain, and for an El Paso jury to understand his case.
"We'll keep fighting to the end. We'll never give up," Ramirez said.
Normally the city won't discuss pending litigation, but we asked for comment anyway. So far, we've heard nothing back.