The US government could be vulnerable to billions of dollars in claims after a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina.
US District Judge Stanwood Duval yesterday awarded seven plaintiffs $720,000, but the government could eventually be forced to pay much more. The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better chance of claiming damages.
Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army corps' oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans' Lower 9th ward and neighbouring St Bernard parish. He said, however, the corps could not be held liable for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, where two of the plaintiffs lived.
The ruling is emotionally resonant for south Louisiana. Many in New Orleans have argued that the flooding in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck the region on 29 August 2005, was a man-made disaster caused by the Army corps' failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment