Judge Rules in Favor of Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Katrina
November 19, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of Hurricane Katrina victims who claimed much of the worst flood damage was a result of negligence by the Army Corps of Engineers, an important victory for many of those impacted by the storm. The case was the first to find the government responsible for damages from the storm.
Lawyers representing the victims argued that the Army Corps not only failed to properly maintain the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a navigation canal that connects New Orleans' inner harbor with the Gulf of Mexico, but actually made matters worse with what actions it did take. In particular, they argued that the Army Corps' actions were responsible for killing off marshes, eroding the banks, and doubling the channel width, all of which provided a way for the waters from Katrina to flood the city.
The court's ruling may have a significant impact on many people impacted by the storm. Eighty thousand people lived in the area covered by the ruling, many of whom may be able to join a class action lawsuit based upon the verdict. The Army Corps has estimated that such cases could lead to up to $500 billion in damages being awarded to people who lost their homes in the storm.