Federal Judge: MRGO, Louisiana Flooding Lawsuit Can Move Forward

August 5, 2009

A federal judge in Louisiana has ruled that plaintiffs can go forward with a lawsuit charging the federal government with taking the value of their land in St. Bernard and New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward through flooding caused by the building the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO).

Arguments began April 20 in the lawsuit filed by New Orleans residents and a business who claim the Army Corps of Engineers owes them damages because of the massive flooding after Hurricane Katrina that stirred up the waters and washed out levees along a 75-mile (120-kilometer), man-made shipping channel dubbed “hurricane highway.” Court of Federal Claims Judge Susan Braden refused Aug. 3 to dismiss the lawsuit.

The class-action case, filed a month and a half after Hurricane Katrina flooded both areas in August 2005, contends that continuing environmental damage resulting from construction of the MRGO by the Army Corps of Engineers left the plaintiffs vulnerable to flooding.

Braden said evidence of severe flooding in 2005 and other flooding since then showed the plaintiffs are entitled to ask the court for compensation.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, www.nola.com

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