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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Katrina Levee lawsuit dismissed
Article Type: News items From: Disaster Prevention and Management, Volume 17, Issue 4
In early January, a federal lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers over the breach of the levees from Hurricane Katrina was thrown out due to the Flood Control Act of 1992, which holds the federal government immune when flood control projects fail. US District Judge Stanwood Duval acknowledged in later statements that even though the agency failed to protect the citizens of New Orleans and that they knew of the inadequacies of the levee system prior to its breaking, his hands were tied in the final ruling. Plaintiffs argued against the immunity by claiming that the Corps used the canals for other drainage projects and that failures were due to canal dredging. More than 490,000 claims against the agency have been filed so far, totaling trillions of dollars in damages. More suits from government entities, businesses, and individuals are expected to move forward, but many were connected to this lawsuit and a similar one concerning a navigation channel that caused much of the flooding in St. Bernard Parish. Judge Duval stated in his ruling that much of the failure was due to counterproductive laws, such as the Flood Control Act, and that legal and bureaucratic changes are necessary to overcome the incompetence of the system.