Lawsuit over Katrina levee breaks tossed
A federal judge threw out a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over levee breaches in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, saying that the agency had failed to protect the city but that his hands were tied by the law.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the corps should be legally immune from failures in canals that caused much of the flooding.
The ruling relies on the Flood Control Act of 1928, which made the federal government immune when flood-control projects like levees broke.
The suit led to about 489,000 claims by businesses, government entities and residents, totaling trillions of dollars.
In his ruling, Duval said he was forced by law to find the corps immune even though the agency had “squandered millions of dollars in building a levee system . . . which was known to be inadequate by the corps’ own calculations.”