Gotha homeowners plagued by flooding sue Orange County, FDOT, housing development

Gotha flooding (Image: Clay LePard/WKMG)
Gotha flooding (Image: Clay LePard/WKMG) (WKMG 2020)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Several Gotha homeowners filed a lawsuit again Orange County this week following years of area flooding threatening and even forcing them to abandon their homes.

News 6 has previously detailed the record flooding in the Gotha area, specifically at Lake Fischer, Lake Nally, Lake Hugh, Mills Pond and Gotha Pond, as neighbors searched for answers as to what was causing the sustained flooding.

In September, engineers detailed the findings of a $200,000 study commissioned by Orange County into the cause of flooding concerns in Gotha.

For months, neighbors blamed the flooding on nearby housing development and expansion on the Florida Turnpike. However the report said the landlocked lakes were reacting to rainfall accumulated over multiple years.

[Previous stories: New report provides clues to origin of Gotha flooding problems | Above-average rainfall to blame for Gotha flooding problems, report says]

Juan and Yumeris “Mery” Fernandez filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the county, the Central Florida Expressway Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation and Braemar, an property developer.

The Fernandez family owns a home on the west bank of Lake Nally. The flooding forced them out of their home last year.

In September, homeowners impacted by the flooding told News 6 they disagreed with the findings from the county report.

“That report was basically a manipulation of the truth, that’s how I see it,” Mery Fernandez said in September. “I want people to know this can happen to anyone.”

Paul and Stacey DeHart helped found the website “Gotha Floods,” which documents the issues in the surrounding area. they have also sued the developer, the county, CFX and FDOT.

“Definitive plans to file a lawsuit,” DeHart said earlier this year after the engineering report was released. “The risk is too great. The worry is there every day. It doesn’t go away whether it’s our dry season or wet season. These aren’t just houses either, they’re our homes.”

The second lawsuit from the DeHart family was not yet online as of Wednesday evening.

The homeowners are seeking in excess of $30,000 for property damages, not including attorney fees and court costs.

About the Authors: