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Carrollton Homeowners Claim City Lost or Destroyed Documents

Residents want city to repair retaining wall which collapsed in 2009

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014)

    Several Carrollton homeowners who filed a lawsuit over a landslide in their backyards claim the city has lost or destroyed key documents.

    City attorneys deny the allegation.

    The charges are the latest skirmish in the lawsuit, filed in Denton County District Court in 2012. The homeowners want the city to repair a large retaining wall which collapsed in 2009.

    "We've been fighting this for four years and I think it's way too long,” said homeowner Petra Hamrla, a native of the Czech Republic who moved into the house in 2007.

    The city said it is forbidden from making repairs on private property and that the retaining wall was on the homeowners’ land.

    The homeowners argue fixing the issue is the city’s responsibility because it knew or should have known about the problems along Dudley Branch Creek.

    "It's their responsibility to fix,” Hamrla said. “It's their creek."

    In some of the latest legal filings, the homeowners claim some city documents, including key records on the retaining wall's original construction, have disappeared.

    The homeowners' lawyer wrote: "Carrollton either did not maintain standard, reliable records or ... caused its documents to disappear."

    City attorneys said they've given the homeowners every record they have, writing: "There is no evidence that the city ever had more documents concerning the plans for the wall."

    They added there is nothing to suggest the wall caused the slope failure in the first place.

    Hamrla’s 11-year-old son Nicholas wrote a letter to city leaders.

    “When I invite my friends over, we try to play in the front yard,” he said. “But it's scary because there are so many cars that speed there. So we end up playing inside, which is kind of boring."

    Nicholas was 5-years-old when his backyard disappeared. His sister was an infant.

    "My sister and I are missing out on our childhood. I never used to think about stress. I didn't even know what it was. But now I see how my parents worry, it stresses me out," Nicholas wrote.

    Now, he said, all he wants for Christmas is his backyard back.

    "My Christmas wish is that you and the city council will do the right thing and fix the wall,” he said.

    A pretrial hearing in the case is set for March.

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