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.