Flooding Lawsuit Filed

A lawsuit filed in Harrison County Circuit Court blames Gulfport for flooding problems in Orange Grove, an area annexed by the city in 1994. The $2.2 million suit was filed on behalf of 15 Orange Grove residents whose homes flooded in June when the remnants of Tropical Storm Allison dumped nearly 10 inches of rain on the Gulf Coast.

The suit claims homes were flooded because the city didn't regularly clean out a drainage ditch. Ben Galloway, attorney for the homeowners, said he had explained the damage to city officials and requested the homeowners be compensated. He said he received no response so he filed the lawsuit late last month. ``Some of these houses had 3 or 4 feet of water in them,'' Galloway said.

City Attorney Harry Hewes said he is still preparing the city's response and could not comment on the lawsuit. Residents have said that before annexation, the county routinely cleaned out the ditch and homes didn't flood. ``After annexation, despite repeated requests, the ditch wasn't cleaned,'' Galloway said. ``After June 11, they did a cursory cleaning. I suspect that until they do it right, it's going to flood again.''