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Burg Simpson Representing Flood Victims in a Case Filed Against the U.S. Government

Burg Simpson Representing Flood Victims in a Case Filed Against the U.S. Government

By Heidi Culbertson
July 26, 2021
2 min read

Burg Simpson Attorneys Represent Northern Colorado Flood Victims in a Case Filed Against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Burg Simpson shareholder Brian K. Matise and trial lawyer Nelson Boyle are representing the victims of flooding near Estes Park, Colorado that destroyed homes in in September of 2013. In a federal lawsuit, the team of litigators presented a case claiming the federal government is to blame for the destruction of the plaintiff’s homes and business.

The plaintiffs have alleged the Bureau of Reclamation, who owned and operated the Olympus Dam, a part of the Big Thompson Project, intentionally released life-endangering floodwaters into the canyon on the night of September 12-13, 2013.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in December of 2018, claims that during the heavy rains, the government employees operated the dam to protect the government’s interest and property, initially allowing water in Lake Estes reservoir located behind the dam to rise. Then, they made the decision to release over 5,000 cubic feet of water per second through the dam spillway contrary to the government’s own operating procedures and despite additional capacity in the reservoir. The government employees knew before they made the fateful decision that their actions would inundate the properties in the canyon below the dam.  That night, the release of water washed away the plaintiffs’ homes, businesses, and the land beneath it even though their property was not in the flood plain.

About Shareholder Brian Matise

Burg Simpson shareholder Brian Matise’s legal experience includes all aspects of general civil practice with an emphasis on complex commercial litigation, mass tort product liability litigation, special district and homeowner association law, and insurance coverage litigation. He has successfully tried over a dozen cases to a jury verdict or judgment and obtained several million dollars in settlements for clients.

About Trial Lawyer Nelson Boyle

Nelson Boyle’s civil litigation practice focuses on appeals, business, insurance bad faith, and personal injury litigation. He has practiced in Colorado trial courts, the Colorado Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for Colorado, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Nelson serves as a Commissioner on the Judicial Performance Commission for Colorado’s Second Judicial District, where he recently completed a 2-year term as Chair.

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