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Judge Upholds Army Corps of Engineers Liability in Katrina Disaster

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A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2009 landmark decision by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval, that negligence by the Army Corps of Engineers on a shipping channel was the cause of billions of damage during Hurricane Katrina, and is liable for property owners claims.

The panel also commended Judge Duval for his “impressive” rulings and his “careful attention to the law and even more cautious scrutiny of complex facts,” the AP reported. The panel rejected an argument by the government that it is immune from lawsuits that blame flood damage from Katrina on operations of and maintenance by the Army Corps of Engineers on the New Orleans navigation channel MRGO (Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet).

“At points where it could have mattered, the Corps did not identify MRGO’s ability to aggravate the effect of a major hurricane,” 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith wrote. “This is not a situation in which the Corps recognized a risk and chose not to mitigate it out of concern for some other public policy (e.g., navigation or commerce); it flatly failed to gauge the risk.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs said, “This is a landmark victory, not just for the people ravaged by Katrina’s flooding but for all Americans,” the AP reported. “We must hold our government accountable when it inflicts avoidable harm on its citizens.” disclaimer: This article: Judge Upholds Army Corps of Engineers Liability in Katrina Disaster was posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 9:01 pm at and is filed under Uncategorized.

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