Legal Question in Construction Law in Nebraska

Rebuilt Highway Keeps our Cropland from Draining

We have a 160 acre farm in Northeast Nebraska that borders a State Highway. The State of Nebraska had a major project to rebuild the highway.

When they rebuilt it, they made a mistake and installed the culverts that drain excess water off of our farm under the highway too high. This means that water stays on our cropland because it can not drain under the highway. We can not farm a number of acres because of this and it creates a wet, weedy eyesore and it is difficult to farm around.

The State of Nebraska admits they installed the culverts too high but say it would be too expensive to put culverts in at the correct elevation (around $45,000.).

We think that it is their mistake and they should make it right. They say they have ''turned it over to the lawyers''. I am told these lawyers names are Randy Needham and Jeff Schroeder, although I do not know if they are true lawyers. I have written them a certified letter in which I ask them for at least a timeline toward resolving this problem. They have not contacted me at all.

What can I do to make them fix the problem they have created??? Or at least contact me with a plan toward resolution.

Your answer is appreciated. Thanks.

Asked on 8/04/02, 9:22 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Patrick Tracy Patrick J. Tracy, Esq, P.E.,

Re: Rebuilt Highway Keeps our Cropland from Draining


I am not licensed in Nebraska, however I can speak in general terms. This case amounts to a takings case, in which you are denied the use of your land because of their mistake. You need to sue them in district court for the value of the land, or alternatively for the lost profits that you would have made by farming this land. Unless you hire an attorney, they'll probably not do anything. Check around the local jurisdiction to see if there is an attorney who will take this case on a contingency basis.

Based on what you have said, this would be an easy win on the case. However you must hiore an attorney experienced in property matters.

Good Luck!!!

Pat Tracy

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Answered on 8/04/02, 12:06 pm

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