Woman sues Horry County over drainage problems after home floods twice

Woman sues Horry County over drainage problems after home floods twice

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A Carolina Forest homeowner who was flooded out of her home in both 2015 and 2016 is suing Horry County, saying officials did not take the necessary steps to prevent flooding on her property.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday, plaintiffs Leah Hornberger, David Campbell, Bruce Stoughton and Donna Stoughton state they were either residents or owners of 120 Bellgrove Drive in the Carolina Forest area. On Oct. 8, 2018, floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew allegedly damaged that home.

WMBF News partner MyHorryNews reports that Campbell is Hornberger’s fiancé and the Stoughtons are Campbell’s parents and the home’s owners.

The plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit that Horry County officials “were aware that the road owned and operated by Horry County had not been properly built so that floodwaters flowed over top the roads near Plaintiffs’ property.”

They also allege that county employees, including Horry County Stormwater Director Tom Garigen, admitted to local media that the “pipes were not big enough to take the waters that were never meant to go through the subdivision and that there were beaver dams blocking the flow of water near International Drive and Highway 22.”

“Further, there were undersized pipes on River Oaks and International Drive along with the roads being below grade, all of which caused storm water to flood Plaintiffs’ house,” the lawsuit stated.

According to MyHorryNews, Hornberger saw her house inundated with water in 2015. The same thing happened when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016. When she confronted county stormwater staff about the problems, she was initially told that heavy rains simply overwhelmed the local drainage system.

After the second flood, county staff discovered problems in the network, including pipes that were too small and beaver dams blocking drains, MyHorry News reported. After upgrading the infrastructure following Matthew, Hornberger’s home did not flood in Hurricane Florence last month.

“Clearly, it’s proof that whatever improvements you did make stopped the flooding,” she said. “Had you made them before Matthew like you said you were, we probably wouldn’t have flooded then because we’re dry now and the storm was far worse.”

The lawsuit states the plaintiffs believe the home is now depreciated because of the flooding and they have lost part of its value.

Horry County spokesperson Kelly Moore said it is policy not to comment on pending litigation.

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