The plaintiffs allege local authorities and the province failed to adequately warn residents of the impending disaster, limiting their ability to save their belongings.
Two residents of the Sumas Prairie have proposed a class action lawsuit seeking damages for personal loss and destruction caused by November’s catastrophic flooding.
Representative plaintiffs and business owners Caroline Mostertman and Ted Dykman allege local authorities and the province failed to adequately warn residents of the impending disaster, limiting their ability to save their belongings.
“The defendants also failed to implement emergency measures and warnings when they knew or ought to have known that a flood impacting the Sumas Prairie was the foreseeable consequence of the weather preceding the Sumas Flood,” reads the lawsuit.
The proposed class action was filed in B.C. Supreme Court last week by lawyer Anthony Vecchio of Slater Vecchio LLP, a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in class action and personal injury litigation. It has not yet been certified by a judge.
The defendants — the City of Abbotsford, Fraser Valley Regional District and Province of British Columbia — all declined comment on this story as the matter is before the courts. Emergency Management BC, however, noted that it takes the “health and safety of British Columbians seriously in emergency situations.”
The lawsuit also lists three unnamed companies as defendants, all of which are in charge of monitoring for floods or initiating emergency responses.
On Nov. 14, southern B.C. was hit by record-breaking rainfall that on Nov. 16, contributed to the breach of the Sumas Dike in two places.
The ensuing floods swallowed homes and vehicles in Sumas Prairie, drowned countless acres of farmland, destroyed crops, killed livestock, and displaced thousands of people.