Over 100 people file lawsuit after homes damaged by floods in Woodlake

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Residents file lawsuit after homes damaged by 2023 floods in Woodlake
It's been just over a year since an entire neighborhood in the small community of Woodlake flooded due to historic rainfall.

WOODLAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been just over a year since an entire neighborhood in the small community of Woodlake flooded due to historic rainfall.

The floods caused damage to dozens of homes in Northwest Woodlake near Kaweah Avenue and Cypress street.

Joshua Diaz, who has lived in the area for eight years, was one of those whose homes were left covered in floodwater.

"The days after, when we returned to our homes and saw the devastation of how much we lost. Just dragging all of our belongings out. Just thousands and thousands of dollars of hard work," said Diaz.

Diaz and his neighbors fear it could happen again.

They are looking for compensation for the thousands of dollars they put into out of pocket repairs, to fix their homes.

They also want a plan to help prevent future floods in the area.

That's why 113 people across 29 families have filed a lawsuit for millions of dollars.

Property damage attorney Shant Karnikian, with Kabateck LLP, is helping represent the families.

"The truly heartbreaking part about this, these communities that are impacted by this are being disproportionately impacted by this. These are literally the backbone of our state they are often in the agriculture industry, these are small communities these are not high income communities these are working class folks that are impacted by this," said Kabateck.

The lawsuit names The City of Woodlake, Tulare County Flood Control District, Tulare County Resource Management Agency, Wutchumna Water Company and Caltrans.

Yanez Construction is also named in the lawsuit.

The company built Hillside estates, just north of the flooded area.

The lawsuit says Antelope Creek used to run through the subdivision where the homes now sit.

It goes on to say the construction of the homes resulted in quote "significant changes to the land" and "storm drain infrastructure"

Caltrans, Tulare County, and Yanez Construction are not commenting on the lawsuit at this time.

The City of Woodlake and Wutchumna Water Company have yet to respond.

Back on Kaweah Avenue, Diaz worries the dream home he planned to live in his entire life and one day leave behind to his boys may be ruined again one day.

"I bought that home with confidence, it was big enough for my family and it had a big back yard, it was my dream home and my family's too. and to see it all washed away, it was sad," Diaz explained.

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