Tennessee Senate candidate Phillip North filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Monday, seeking $360,000 in damages related to property losses from the May 2010 flood.
North told The City Paper he was “following the lead of the Gaylord lawsuit,” referring to similar suits filed against the federal government earlier this year by Gaylord Entertainment Company, Gibson Guitar and Nissan, claiming negligence and mismanagement of dams caused the Cumberland River to overflow.
“Their engineers have said this flood was preventable and was result of a human error, so they are pursuing that claim and I’m following their lead on that,” North said.
North claims his property on Neely’s Bend in Madison suffered $51,000 in water damage that affected his barn, farm equipment, pool house, hot tub and garage. The lawsuit also asks for more than $100,000 in landscaping for erosion control and drainage support to stabilize the riverbank. Photos submitted along with the suit show North's home along the Cumberland completely surrounded by floodwaters.
The value of his property plummeted by $200,000, North wrote in the lawsuit. According to property records, the 20-acre property was assessed at more than $950,000 in 2010. After the flood, it was down to about $704,000.
“If the courts determine that is something the federal government should pay damages for, then I want to recover back what we lost in the flood that wasn’t covered by insurance,” North said.
North, a partner at North, Pursell & Ramos, is representing himself in the case.
He is running as a Democrat for the state Senate seat in District 20 against Republican Steve Dickerson.