State Line Fishing & Hunting Club v. City of Waskom
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
754 F. Supp. 1104, 21 ELR 21095 (1991)
In 1975, the City of Waskom, Texas (Waskom) (defendant) built a sewage treatment plant on State Line Lake (lake). State Line Fishing & Hunting Club, Inc. (club) (plaintiff) owned land near the lake. Individual shareholders in the club (plaintiffs) leased property from the club. After 1986, the lake became unusable because it was thickly covered in moss, which appeared in summer and disappeared in winter. The club and its shareholders brought nuisance and negligence claims against Waskom, alleging that discharge of effluent from the treatment plant caused the moss growth. The club and its shareholders sought monetary damages and an injunction requiring Waskom to change how effluent was discharged from the treatment plant. Waskom argued that the treatment plant had caused permanent injury to the lake and that all claims were thus barred by Texas’s two-year statute of limitations. The club’s expert, however, testified that the moss problem could be abated if the effluent were discharged differently. Waskom also argued that the sewage treatment facility served a governmental function and that Waskom therefore enjoyed sovereign immunity from suit under the Texas Tort Claims Act (act). The act allowed nuisance claims and claims based on negligence if the damage was caused by operation of a motor vehicle. Finally, Waskom argued that operation of the treatment plant could not be enjoined because it was a public improvement. On these grounds, Waskom moved for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stagg, J.)
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