Judge ends Katrina flooding lawsuits against feds

December 28, 2013

Dozens of lawsuits seeking damages from the federal government for Hurricane Katrina-related levee failures and flooding in the New Orleans area are over.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. dismissed the cases. The move came more than a year after a federal appeals court overturned his ruling that held the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable for flooding caused by lax maintenance of a shipping channel.

More than 500,000 residents, businesses and governments filed claims against the corps. Many people in southern Louisiana say the flooding in the wake of the 2005 storm was a man-made disaster — one caused specifically by the corps — and they have wanted the agency to pay for lost homes and property.

The corps claimed immunity from suits related to decisions on flood-control projects, including most levees, based on a 1928 federal law. Lawyers tried to get around that by claiming the agency had been negligent in maintaining navigation channels, including the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

Thousands of homes were destroyed in the aftermath of the storm. About 1,400 people died.

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