Judge Awards North Carolina Residents $163M Over Dam Breach

North Carolina residents whose community dam was damaged by Hurricane Matthew and later breached by the state have won a $162.5 million judgment against the corporation that owns it.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that Woodlake residents released a statement last month announcing the judgment against Woodlake CC Corp. in their lawsuit alleging harm by the corporation’s failure to maintain the dam. The company had failed to meet a deadline to drain or repair the damaged dam last June, forcing the state to step in, leaving the 1,200-acre lake mostly empty.

Residents sued in October, saying the corporation to whom they pay dues continues to advertise “lakefront” lots as the lake has become a “quagmire.”

The corporation did not respond to the lawsuit, prompting the Moore County Superior Court clerk to enter a statement of default against it in January. Judge James M. Webb later issued an order certifying the lawsuit as a class action.

Webb ruled in favor of the residents on March 22 and issued a judgment that included compensatory damages of $40.63 million and punitive damages of $121.9 million, according to the statement.

The judgment will now serve as a lien against the corporation’s assets, the statement said.

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