By remboltludtke

News isn’t good for Niobrara residents harmed by dam failure

Posted in Water Watch

Omaha World-Herald:

Omaha attorney David Domina traveled to Niobrara this week after fielding many inquiries about whether legal action could be taken as a result of the damage from the failure of the Spencer Dam in March.

The Niobrara Lutheran Church’s fellowship hall was full of area residents — homeowners, farmers and businessmen — some of whom suffered severe losses as a result of the wall of water that hit the part of the Niobrara business district and area farmland after the dam failed.

But Domina did not have good news.

“The Spencer Dam is owned by the Nebraska Public Power District, which is covered specifically in the state statutes under tort law,” Domina said.

Domina told the Niobrara residents that the statutes contain limited liability provisions when damage occurs. The statute determines a limit of $1 million per claim per occurrence and a limit of $5 million per occurrence for all claimants.

Domina then presented the most recent estimates from the four counties involved in the Spencer Dam incident, noting that Knox County leads the way with more than $17 million in damage.