Judge rules Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority must turn over documents in lawsuit

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Visiting Judge Stephen Ables ruled Tuesday that the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority must hand over most of the documents being sought in a lawsuit filed by local property owners who say the agency should have to replace aging dams, KENS reported.  

A massive failure at Lake Dunlap in May 2019 sparked discussion about the condition of the dams on the river, with property owners arguing the GBRA has purposely let them fail so they won’t have to undergo the trouble of maintaining them, the TV station reported. 

The plaintiffs’ attorney filed the motion to compel the GBRA to hand over documents so they can move forward with the discovery phase.

“When you have a catastrophic loss like that, you can imagine what the engineers, what the officers, what the directors are all saying to each other because they’ve got to be scattering at that time to find out what went wrong. ‘Did we do something wrong? Is it our maintenance? Is our problem? Is it our fault?’” Doug Sutter, the attorney representing property owners, told KENS. “And that’s what we have not been able to get from GBRA.”

Defense attorney Travis Sales told KENS the authority has already produced more than 66,000 pages of documents.

“Everything that we have located about the dams, we’ve said it repeatedly that that’s what … this lawsuit’s about, and we’ve produced it,” he said.

But Sutter said GBRA hasn’t produced records to show how the authority is spending money to maintain the dams.

Ables ruled that GBRA doesn’t have to turn over any documents about land deals discussed by board members or documents about water sales by New Braunfels Utilities. He said those topics were discussed “ad nauseum” at the last hearing on the case, the TV station reported.  

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