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City Lawsuit Stems from 2006, Could Cost Millions


POSTED: Friday, May 14, 2010 - 4:54pm

UPDATED: Friday, May 14, 2010 - 5:11pm

EL PASO, TX - Millions of your tax dollars could soon be dished out in a city lawsuit. Eight families in Clint are seeking damages from El Paso because of the 2006 floods.

Guadalupe Ramirez says the 2006 storm that flooded most of El Paso also caused the water retention pond at the Clint landfill to burst. Ramiriez says that practically ruined his pecan farm and business.

Pictures the Ramirez family provided show tons of dirt and trash filling the Ramirez pecan orchard. Ramirez said because of the dirt he lost a lot of money. He says pecan production was about 20-thousand pounds a year, now it's down to about 5-thousand pounds. Ramirez still can't get equipment into the orchard to shake trees, so he has to wait for pecans to fall. On top of that, he was forced to let go of one third of his employees, and pay for the dirt and trash to be removed.

"What it would cost me to clean this up is $1.2 million dollars. That's the estimate I got to cleanup my orchard and there is no way I can come up with that kind of money, having a mortgage on it, there's no way. My whole farm is not worth about $1.2 million," he said.

Ramirez told us physical help to haul the dirt out is all he wanted from the city, but they didn't offer that. So now the lawsuit includes damages, which were told could be millions per family, and Ramirez says city lawyers are trying to get out of it.

"They're trying different ways, one of them is saying it's an act of God, another one is saying it's not in their jurisdiction. So they're trying different ways to get out of helping us."

Ramirez argues the Clint landfill is their responsibility because they manage it, and even used storm relief money for the facility.

Tuesday a dismissal hearing was held, and the Judge ruled the families can continue the lawsuit.

Calls to the city for comment haven't been returned.

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