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2nd lawsuit filed against operator of failed Michigan dams

A washed out West Saginaw Road in Sanford, Michigan, on May 21, 2020, after the area saw heavy flooding and damage from heavy rains throughout central Michigan . - More than 10,000 residents were evacuating their homes in Michigan on May 20, 2020 after two dams failed following heavy rains triggered what officials warned will be historic flooding. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Midland County, site of the breached dams, in the towns of Edenville and Sanford. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

EDENVILLE, Mich. — The owners and operators of two mid-Michigan dams that failed, forcing the evacuation of 11,000 people, are facing a second lawsuit.

The class-action suit was filed Friday against Boyce Hydro and manager Lee Mueller, the Midland Daily News reported Saturday.

The Tittabawassee River became engorged late Tuesday when the aging Edenville and Sanford dams failed after heavy rain. The river crested Wednesday in Midland, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit. A number of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

President Donald Trump declared an emergency Thursday.

Morgan & Morgan, Grant & Eisenhofer, and the Jenner Law offices, attorneys in the lawsuit, say the flooding was preventable.

“Despite knowing the threat posed by these unsafe dams, the defendants allegedly refused to pay for much-needed repairs and upgrades,” stated Frank Petosa, spokesman for the law firms.

The other lawsuit also was filed Friday in federal court in Detroit. It alleges that Boyce Hydro “failed to operate, fix, or repair the dams in accordance with the established standard of care, resulting in catastrophic injury and damage to residents and their properties.”

That lawsuit also names the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Associated Press has left emails seeking comment from Mueller and Boyce Hydro.

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