That's what your renter's insurance is for! Just file a claim.
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The landlord might be responsible if the basement has had backups before and you weren't warned about storing things in the basement. A defective premises case is based on a defect that is known or should be known. If this is the first backup, there is probably no case.
This will largely be limited to what the lease provides. The typical lease will cover this type of situation very clearly and since leases are normally drafted by the landlord they will almost always provide no liability on the landlord. However, if this is not a professionally managed unit and the landlord is doing this on his own he may well not have a well drafted lease in which case as the first attorney noted he could be liable under negligence law. Just understand that it will likely be a difficult case to make so your best course of action is to simply file a claim with your renter's insurance.
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Your renter's insurance should cover your items in situations exactly like this. Your lease likely states that the landlord is not responsible for damaged personal items in the case of flooding, fire, storm damage, etc. Contact your renter's insurance company and talk to them.
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