Valley Center homeowners sue

A group of 19 Valley Center homeowners have filed suit against the developers of their addition, alleging they weren't told the area could flood before a September 2008 storm damaged their property.

In a suit filed Sept. 10 by Wichita attorney Randy Rathbun, the homeowners claim that developers Lusk Communities and Prairie Lakes, Realtors Wayne Didlake and Jayne Coffman of Realty Executives of Wichita and builder Don Klausmeyer Construction failed to disclose that the homes they bought were in an area vulnerable to flooding on Valley Center's south side.

Plaintiffs in the case are Robert and Lou Ann Hale, Riley and Stephanie Requa, David and Patricia Cutting, Christina Dick, Matthew and Lacie D. Thome, Benjamin and Tracy Weart, Jared and Kristina Bowyer, Norman and Deanna Burroughs, Eric and Elena Paubel, and Stephen and Tracy Duarte.

The suit stems from flooding on Sept. 12, 2008, that allegedly destroyed some of the plaintiffs' personal property, damaged their homes, and lowered their property values.

It seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages.

Specifically, the petition filed by Rathbun in the case claims that the defendants should have known that apartments adjacent to the development flooded in 2005, before any of the homes in Prairie Lakes were built.

It also claims that the defendants should have known the homes were built in a former floodplain vulnerable to flooding.

And in the case of the two Realty Executives agents, the petition alleges that Coffman and Didlake specifically told the plaintiffs that the properties had been engineered to never flood and would not require flood insurance.

The petition claims that the project's developers, Lusk and Prairie Lakes, have repeatedly promised to repair the area so the homes won't flood again, but have failed to deliver.

Rathbun, the plaintiffs' attorney, did not return calls seeking comment.

Tim Holt, broker/owner at Realty Executives, said he hasn't seen the lawsuit.

He said that Didlake hasn't worked for Realty Executives for two years.

"Number one, Realtors are protected from 'should have known' by Kansas law," Holt said. "I can't comment beyond that."

Klausmeyer and Bill Lusk, president of Lusk Communities, did not return calls seeking comment.