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  • Water Erosion & Mudflow Damage

  • The flow of water across land can physically remove soil and even rocks, resulting in land erosion ­ which can be dramatic. Such water erosion can be caused by the simple flow of water across the surface of the land from one property to another, or by streams or rivers. The flow of water underground can cause erosion as well. Such erosion can cause the failure of building foundations and other structures. This can also result in landsliding. Water erosion, and other failures of land above your property can result in mudflows coming onto your land. Mudflows can be very destructive. Individuals, private and governmental entities can be liable for damaging mudflows. Water erosion and mudflows are phenomena that can result in the damage to or death of trees ­ as frequently over­looked by attorneys which are inexperienced in this area. Trees can be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars each. Laws which are largely unknown to attorneys inexperienced in this area ­ allow for a double or triple measure of damages.


    Water erosion caused by the un­natural flow of water from one property to another can result in liability under a number of theories, including nuisance, trespass, and negligence. Actions against a government or quasi-­governmental entity such as a privately owned utility company, can result in an action under the powerful inverse condemnation doctrine or dangerous condition of public property. The California Supreme Court has held that damages caused by the un­natural flow of water from an upper property to a lower property, results in a simple liability action subject to a reasonableness test. Keys v. Romley (1966) 64 al. 2d 396; Locklin v. City of Lafayette (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 327. Damage caused by the natural flow of water from one property, or damage caused by actions proven to be reasonable cannot result in liability.