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Appeals Court Allows Effluent Case to Proceed

(CN) - A Texas appeals court has cited a state high court decision in allowing a man's claim for property damage from effluent discharge to move forward.

The City of Midland had been releasing wastewater from a treatment plant for 12 years when Jud Walton sued in 1996, alleging damage from sewage encroaching onto his land.

The trial court denied the city's attempt to dismiss Walton's claims based on alleged lack of jurisdiction due to sovereign immunity under the Texas constitution.

The appeals court cited the Texas Supreme Court's Dallas v. Jennings determination that a government entity damaging private property could be held liable if it knows that it is causing harm.

In short, the appellate court said that Walton didn't have to prove his claims, but could merely provide enough evidence indicating possible intent on the part of the city.

Because Walton had provided affidavits and records indicating that the city may have known what it was doing to his property, the appellate court remanded.

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