Elderly property owners' case against Miami-Dade County over noise reduction wall gets tossed

By Charmaine Little | Dec 13, 2018

MIAMI — Homeowners who allege they have been left with devalued properties after Miami-Dade County reneged on a deal to buy their houses had their case dismissed by the U.S. District for the Southern District of Florida.

Sybel W. Lee and a host of other elderly plaintiffs sued the Miami-Dade County and State of Florida Department of Transportation amid the establishment of a noise reduction wall along I-95 that was built more than 10 years ago.

The plaintiffs all own homes or property that are close to the wall, and the county allegedly promised to buy their homes and relocate the plaintiffs, but did not follow through.

The plaintiffs allege the wall has impacted not only the value of their homes, but their day-to-day living conditions.

The Department of Transportation claims it is protected by the Eleventh Amendment, while the County claims that the statute of limitations has expired.

The court agreed that the department was shielded from this lawsuit under the Eleventh Amendment, and also ruled that the actions considered in the case were taken by the department, not the County.

It granted both Department of Transportation and the County’s motions to dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs first took up their issues with the Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2007. Shortly after, it was determined the cost of buying all of their homes was more than $3 million.

At a 2012 hearing, a commissioner suggested the homes be purchased at their current value, but the plaintiffs said the value of the homes was now close to nothing.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. presided over the decision, which was published on Dec. 7.

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