On April 17, 2015, a complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging that the U.S., through the Army Corps and Engineers and employee Larry Rodriquez, failed to properly control, operate and manage the Marseilles Lock, Dam, and Pool, causing damage to several gates of the Marseilles Dam that resulted in severe local flooding in and around the town of Marseilles, 75 miles southwest of Chicago. The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for the damages sustained. On May 4, 2014, The Honorable Amy St. Eve, the judge in this case consolidated the ongoing litigation involving Ingram Barge Company and American Commercial Lines.
Property Damage to Marseilles Devastating
According to court documents, the damage occurred on April 13, 2013 after seven barges broke free and slammed into the Marseilles Dam, impeding the flow of the Illinois River through the dam and causing extensive flooding to the adjacent property. Although there were no injuries reported, more than 1,500 residents of Marseilles had to be evacuated and more than three feet of floodwater surrounded 200 buildings and caused extensive property damage to the area, destroying more than 24 homes.
Many Seek Financial Compensation
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn subsequently declared the state a disaster area, allowing for the pursuit of federal relief and aid to help rebuild the small town of Marseilles, which sits on the banks of the Illinois River in LaSalle County. A multi-phase plan known as the Marseilles dam repair project is currently underway to repair the damage, restore the dike, and prevent future disasters. The project is expected to be completed within two to three years.
By filing the complaint, the plaintiffs in the case are pursuing financial compensation from the parties responsible for the damage, and are being represented by Illinois law firm TorHoerman Law, LLC.