This is a huge ruling and will open the flood gates — pardon the terrible (-y apt) pun — to litigation/compensation for victims in the New Orleans area. Now if only we could sue the government for the Bush administration’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina and help all those still suffering in the entire disaster zone of the Gulf region.
By Richard Fausset
A federal judge says the agency showed ‘gross negligence’ in the years before Katrina. The ruling could leave the government open to billions in claims.
In a ruling that could leave the government open to billions of dollars in claims from Hurricane Katrina victims, a federal judge said late Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had displayed “gross negligence” in failing to maintain a navigation channel — resulting in levee breaches that flooded large swaths of greater New Orleans.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval peppered his 156-page decision, issued in New Orleans, with harsh criticism of the Army corps, at one point citing its “insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness” in failing to maintain the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, known locally as MRGO.
For more than 40 years, the judge said, the corps had known that a crucial levee protecting suburban St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood would be compromised by the deterioration of the channel. The corps had “myriad” ways to address the problem, he wrote, but failed to do so.