Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Anderson v. Red River Waterway Comm'n

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20263
Nos. No. 99-31334, 231 F.3d 211/(5th Cir., 11/08/2000)

The court affirms a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a local commission charged with maintaining and operating the Red River Waterway in Louisiana in an inverse condemnation suit brought against it by riparian landowners whose property was flooded after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised the river's water level. The court first holds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar this suit in federal court. The commission is not an arm of the state. The court next holds that the district court properly held that the landowners' suit against the commission could not be severed from the commission's third-party suit against the United States and remanded to state court because the landowners failed to show any factual distinction between the primary and third-party claims. The court then holds that the district court properly concluded that the landowners cannot recover against the commission under Louisiana's law of inverse condemnation. The commission's role in the Red River project was limited to the acquisition of property and did not extend to control of the water level. Rather, the Corps controlled the water level. Further, no evidence demonstrated that the commission caused the damage to the landowners' property, and Louisiana's inverse condemnation law requires plaintiffs to sue the party that damaged their property.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William C. Cruse
Blue Williams
P.O. Box 57408, New Orleans LA 70157
(504) 831-4091

Counsel for Defendant
Henry B. Bruser III
Gold, Weems, Bruser, Sues & Rundell
2001 MacArthur Dr., Alexandria LA 71307
(318) 445-6471

Before Smith and Barksdale, JJ.