PALM DESERT, Calif. - Araceli Moreno has lived in the Paseo Vista development in Palm Desert for the past 8 years. She pointed out the areas where a series of rainstorms caused severe flooding, sometimes up to two feet, throughout her community in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
A Riverside jury delivered a verdict of nearly $2.8 million in damages in Paseo Vista's favor Thursday after the homeowners association took legal action in 2010.
"To hear we got the money to get it corrected is great," said Moreno.
Attorney Robert Gilliland said it was professional negligence, blaming the project developer and civil engineer Stantec for poorly designing the 65-home development's grading and drainage system.
"Stantec's position was that they were not responsible, but rather the grading contractor who performed the work of the retention basins caused the flooding," said Gilliland.
Gilliand's legal team discovered Stantec was at fault for neglecting to consider the the large pockets of clay or "problem soils," which caused water to pond, and for allowing emergency overflow drains to be placed at a higher elevation than ground level.
Neighbors said they look forward to the project to getting corrected as soon as possible.
"Now the association has a new lease on life, they'll have the funds to re-engineer the grading deficiencies to fix draining and make it what it should've been from the very beginning," said Gilliland.