Archive for Friday, November 20, 2009

Ruling on Katrina flooding may allow claims against government

November 20, 2009


— The harshly worded legal ruling this week that held the Army Corps of Engineers responsible for much of the flooding during Hurricane Katrina could have a far-reaching effect on national flood control policies and on the federal government’s refusal to take responsibility for its errors.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. issued the stinging rebuke to the corps late Wednesday for its failure to manage the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and its levees properly. He ruled that those failures were directly responsible for much of the flooding that devastated New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

Although only a handful of homeowners won $700,000 in damages, New Orleans officials said the principles established in the ruling would open the floodgates to more than 100,000 claims pending against the Army Corps of Engineers for its defective engineering and poor planning that left 80 percent of the city under water.

But more than deciding which party would win the suit, the power and depth of Duval’s 156-page opinion could have long-term effects on the design of levees that protect communities in almost every state and on how the federal government believes it can tame rivers with piles of dirt, experts said.

“The Corps’ lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions,” Duval wrote. “The Corps’ negligence resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars in flood protection measures and billions of dollars in congressional outlays to help this region recover from such a catastrophe. Certainly, Congress would never have meant to protect this kind of nonfeasance on the part of the very agency that is charged with the protection of life and property.”

Attorneys who brought the suit moved quickly to expand the ruling in New Orleans.

“Our aim is to leave no Katrina victims behind,” said Pierce O’Donnell, the lead attorney who brought the case. “There are 400,000 administrative claims on file against the corps.”


Brent Garner 8 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if the court considered the 20 years of environmental lawsuits that prevented the Corps from doing what needed to be done to control flooding.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

The plan to redistribute wealth and bankrupt the country is coming together nicely.

"Give them the wealth! Give them them the wealth! No justice on stolen land ... we owe them a debt."

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 3 months ago

And Spike Lee is still trying to prove that CIA operatives blew up the levies in a plot to flood minority neighborhoods.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

"If you build a city below sea level, close to one of the most hurricane prone areas of the Gulf, by the largest river in North America, what do you think is going to happen?"

You're right, Tom. We should sue Napoleon.

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