Article Image

IPFS News Link • Privacy Rights

A Texas Farmer's Case Heads to the Supreme Court--After the State Refuses...

•, Jon Miltimore

The Supreme Court's decision will have serious consequences for Richie DeVillier, who suffered millions in property damage. But it will also have consequences for all Americans.

In the 1930s, Richie DeVillier's grandfather purchased a farm in Winnie, a little town in eastern Texas named after a railroad contractor who prospered.

For nearly a century, the DeVillier family raised cattle and grew crops on the 900-acre property without incident — until the Texas Department of Transportation started a highway project that had serious implications for DeVillier's land.

In the early 2000s, the state renovated Interstate 10, elevating and broadening the highway and erecting concrete barriers. The construction trapped the DeVillier property, turning his farm into a lake whenever the region experienced heavy rains, as it did in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey.

"The water started to rise on August 28," DeVillier recalled . "Our home was completely flooded by August 29."

When DeVillier says his "home," he's not talking about just his house. Video footage shows his entire farm submerged, with cows standing chest-deep in water; fields where the family once grew rice and olives can be seen totally flooded.

"Two years later, it happened again," said DeVillier. "My family has worked this land for generations, and we've never experienced the devastating flooding that has now become a terrifying norm."

Some 100 cows and horses were killed in the flooding, and countless crops were lost. Yet the state has refused to compensate DeVillier, which prompted him to sue for damages.