And In Today’s News of the NO KIDDING Variety

No shit:

NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina, a decision that could make the federal government vulnerable to billions of dollars in claims.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army Corps’ shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. He said, however, the corps couldn’t be held liable for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, where two of the plaintiffs lived.

Duval awarded the plaintiffs $720,000, but the government could eventually be forced to pay much more in damages. The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better shot at claiming billions of dollars in damages.

The ruling is also emotionally resonant for south Louisiana.Many in New Orleans have argued that Katrina, which struck the region Aug. 29, 2005, was a manmade disaster caused by the Army Corps’ failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city.

Many have argued. Yeah.

Not that this will stop any of the right-wing smuggery brigade who want to talk about how everybody should have just started walking and walked right out of that hurricane and then there would have been no problem at all! Also, there was looting. And when the checks cleared jewelry sales at Wal-Mart went up 1400 percent. And some people had big-screen TVs. Also some bling. So government isn’t to blame.


8 thoughts on “And In Today’s News of the NO KIDDING Variety

  1. From Judge Duval’s ruling.
    “It is the Court’s opinion that the negligence of the Corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MRGO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness. For over forty years, the Corps was aware that the Reach II levee protecting Chalmette and the Lower Ninth Ward was going to be compromised by the continued deterioration of the MRGO, as has been exhaustively discussed in this opinion. The Corps had an opportunity to take a myriad of actions to alleviate this deterioration or rehabilitate this deterioration and failed to do so. Clearly the expression “talk is cheap” applies here. In the event the gross negligence of the Corps in maintaining the MRGO would be regarded as policy, then the discretionary function exception would swallow the Federal Torts Claim Act leaving it an emasculated statute applying to automobile accidents where government employees are involved or medical malpractice where a government physician is involved. This was clearly not the intent of Congress. Safety concerns are not a talisman in deciding whether to apply the discretionary function exception, but certainly are a very significant consideration. Here, there was no balancing or weighing of countervailing considerations. The failure to maintain the MRGO properly compromised the Reach 2 Levee and created a substantial risk of catastrophic loss of human life and private property due to this malfeasance. Nothing the Corps has introduced into evidence tips the balance in its favor.” – pg. 148

  2. Of course, the courts move slowly – and add the layer that the defendant is a govt entity and it will unfortunately take quite some time.
    Of course, the travesty of justice is that if you are a corporation, you can keep appealing until the plaintif runs out of money, or dies first.
    Tying into the healthcare debate, a way to streamline would be a significant tort reform (but I doubt will ever happen as big insurance doesn’t want anyone to mess with their stalling tactics.)

  3. MapleStreet, the only tort reform we’re ever likely to see is a cap on paying out people who got the wrong leg cut off because really, we can’t put doctors out of business like that!

  4. but this is the first time the corpse wasn’t able to weasel out of the blame. mabe we can get them n the sinking level in the great lakes now.

  5. This is certainly a decent first step; however, I’m not all that sure how things play out from here. If I understand the decision, ACOE liability is based on MR-GO being a navigation project and not flood control…

  6. Unfortunately A., I have to agree with you.
    And somehow I doubt the courts will allow NOLA residents to include, besides Mr. Go, items such as degrading levees at locations other than MRGO and the disappearing wetland buffers.

  7. One hopes Mary Landrieu will stop stabbing the Dems in the back now that it looks like the Feds will have a legal obligation to pony up for Louisiana, so Mary won’t have to coddle Chinless Mitch’s balls in the hopes of getting a few crumbs from the table for NOLA.

  8. Missy, this won’t have any impact on Mary’s voting record whatsoever. That’s based on her perception that she needs conservative women voters to suvive politically. Is she right? I’m not sure but her voting record won’t change because of this limited ruling.

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