A Sioux Falls Judge recently ruled that the State of South Dakota is at fault for the flooding in 2010 that destroyed homes in Shindler, South Dakota.
It was a decision that Mark Long has wanted to hear for almost four years, but he's disappointed it came to this point.
"There's nothing happy about this situation. I don't know if I was happy. I was satisfied. I was relieved," Mark Long said.
This home became unlivable after a devastating flood in 2010. That is when Long and four other plaintiffs took on the State of South Dakota, arguing the culverts under Highway 11 in Lincoln County aren't big enough to handle a heavy rainstorm. On Friday, a Sioux Falls Circuit Judge ruled that the blockage from Highway 11 was the legal cause of the flooding, a property owned by the State of South Dakota.
Long moved out of this home the day after the flood in 2010. He wants to clarify that this suit has nothing to do with the current flooding. But he knows exactly what the families are experiencing.
"I understand what many people recently are going through and I feel for them. My heart goes out to you. I know what this is like. We flooded again too in the last couple weeks, but this is from the end of July, 2010," Long said.
The same area that flooded in 2010 also flooded this year. This stretch of highway hasn't been updated since 1949. Long hopes this decision will lead to the problem being fixed, but he's not hopeful.
"They saw it happen and that was four years ago and they haven't done anything yet so I don't know what their intentions are," Long said.
Each plaintiff can have a jury trial to determine how much money they will receive for damages. Long says this suit won't make up for all he's lost.
"Personally I lost my house, everything in it, five cars, and a small business. We're not expecting to profit and we know we won't. Even if we get a settlement of what we're asking for we won't," Long said.
The state could still appeal the decision.