In flood case, the Trial Court certified the class, finding the common issue to be whether the City failed to properly design, construct, and maintain the drainage system for the neighborhood, resulting in flooding and subsequent damage to property. But the Court of Appeal reversed.
In addition to concluding that the plaintiff failed to introduce a sufficient evidentiary record on the question of Numerosity, the Louisiana Second Circuit reversed on Commonality grounds: “Mr. Sanders argues that unlike Brooks v. Union Pacific there is only one defendant, the City, whose actions or inactions created one set of circumstances which injured all of the class members. Additionally, because ‘the neighborhood slopes on the west towards the east, and from both the north-to-south, and south-to-north forming a three-sided bowl that discharges at the far east,’ the injured all reside within a single watershed or basin so that there is only one common cause for the flood. However, after a review of the record, we find that commonality has not been established because there were multiple contributing factors within the drainage system as well as secondary causes for the flooding…. It cannot be said that the resolution of whether the City failed to properly design, construct, and maintain the drainage system for the neighborhood would be the same as to each potential class member because there are multiple alleged failures within the system making causation different for each individual.”
Sanders v. City of Winnfield, No.53,872 (La. App. 2nd Cir. May 26, 2021), 2021 WL 2125445.