FLOOD & LANDSLIDE DAMAGE
Mr. Williams and Mr. Gumbiner have each, for over 30 years, successfully represented property owners, including businesses, common interest developments and individual home owners, whose properties have been damaged as the result of flood, landslide or earth movement. They have represented property owners in matters ranging from localized claims, to widespread flood and landslide disasters.
Flood, landslide and earth movement claims are often complicated both factually and legally, and, as with most cases the firm handles, every situation is unique. Retaining the appropriate experts to investigate and identify the cause or causes of the problem is the critical first step in the process. Once we have identified the cause of the damage, we then strive to accomplish the most cost-effective and strategically beneficial remedy in line with our client’s objectives.
Whether the focus of the case is on the failure of a public entity, in a suit for inverse condemnation, dangerous condition of public property or nuisance, or on the liability of an adjoining property owner, we strive to reach the fastest and most cost-effective solution for our client. If litigation is required, we pursue the strategy that takes into account a particular defendant’s liability, available insurance coverage, and the need to build a strong case and act with expedition. While most cases settle, the value in the case lies in being prepared to successfully try it if necessary.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Gumbiner first met in 2004, when each had filed suit on behalf of South San Francisco business owners whose properties were damaged in a major flood disaster resulting from flawed engineering decisions on a neighboring drainage channel. After the two suits were consolidated, Mr. Williams and Mr. Gumbiner worked successfully together in recovering over $7 million from several public entities whose public improvements contributed to the disaster.
Mr. Williams’ background in inverse condemnation – i.e., claims against public entities for flood or landslide damage – dates back to 1980, when his successful appeal of an adverse judgment resulted in the published decision Marin v. City of San Rafael, which established precedent pertaining to inverse condemnation law. Since then, he has successfully tried several inverse condemnation cases, including a 10-month jury trial in 1985-86 on behalf of 32 property owners in San Bernardino County whose properties were damaged in a flood disaster that was the subject of national media attention.
Mr. Gumbiner has tried several landslide, flood and inverse condemnation cases to jury verdicts and has settled dozens more for clients in Marin, San Francisco, Oakland, Contra Costa, San Jose, Los Angeles and Orange County. Many of Mr. Gumbiner’s cases involve multi-million dollar recoveries for clients including a year-long jury trial involving the “Flying Triangle” landslide on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles.