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Flood victims file suit against developer

AMARILLO, Texas -- Merchants and residents in the flood-ravaged Lawrence Lake addition Monday filed a $22.5 million lawsuit against the corporation that developed the area.

The plaintiffs claimed in their suit that Paramount Development Corp. implied the area, which is part of the Lawrence Lake bed, was suitable for development.

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Heavy rains last Friday covered portions of the 1-square-mile Paramount addition with about 5 feet of water, prompting Gov. Bill Clements to declare a disaster emergency and call out the National Guard to help evacuate about 450 people.

The group's attorney said the suit could eventually involve the city of Amarillo and anyone who has dealt in property in the area.

The suit seeks $20 million in punitive damages, $1 million for an implied warranty the group said falsely claimed the area was suitable for development and $1.5 million in actual damages.

Officials Monday had not yet completed estimates of the flood damages, but they said it appeared worse than a flood in the same area last September that caused about $20 million in damages.

The Lawrence Lake area includes 81 single family residences, 13 apartment buildings and 71 businesses.

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