Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Drainage


Hello, I've got a question regarding a drainage issue on my property, and here is a link to our state's water code
I live in Texas, and we have been living in our home since 9/12.  The land on the side of our house was poorly graded, and there was a lot of erosion and runoff coming from under my neighbor's fence and the water would end up flowing towards the corner of our garage.  The water appears to be coming from runoff from the six homes upstream, and the water flows south along everyone's back fence until it reaches the corner of my northern neighbor's fence (corner garden was built and it changed the direction of the water) and the water turns and goes west along their fence line until it comes under the fence and onto my property.  The water coming from under the fence was concentrated in a 1 foot area.  The contractor we hired to grade our land and fix the drainage issue buried two 4 inch drainage tubes just under the fence, and the tubes then turn back away from the garage corner towards the back yard to get the water away from the corner of our garage and prevent any further erosion.  The tubes total about 10 feet in length, and they were buried with the exception of the ends.  The total straight line distance from where the water initially comes under my fence to where it terminates out the ends of the drainage tubes is about 8 or 9 feet.  The water now flows into our backyard, and the water ends up flowing back south again along our back fence.  The water then flows on to my neighbors property behind my home.  That neighbor's property has poor grading and poor drainage due to lack of proper grading and runoff from their gutters.  The water ends up along the side of their foundation.  The total distance from my drainage tubes to their property line is about 40 feet.  Did we violate state law by diverting the water a distance of 9 feet in our backyard?   Can I be held liable if they ever decide to claim I caused any flooding or property damage by diverting the natural flow of water?   Any help or advice regarding this issue is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Hello Wayne,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

I suggest that you consult with a lawyer licensed to practice in your area, and explore recent outcomes in flood litigation within your community.  Some states adopt a "common enemy" approach to surface water, others do not.  You may do well to examine the following prior to consulting with a local practitioner:  Since laws very between States, and I am not admitted to practice in your State, I cannot comment particularly on your local rules.  However, I would hope that your construction contractor is current on local rules and if not carries adequate insurance.  You may get a good start by questioning the folks that put in your tubes about what local laws and rules affect your situation and then discuss that authority with your attorney.

Going forward, it might be prudent to consult with an attorney prior to such a project.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

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Morgan Smith


Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.


I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at:

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