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In re Katrina Breaches Consol. Litig.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20039
Nos. No. 05-4182, (E.D. La., 01/30/2008) dismissed

A district court dismissed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) for the flooding and inundation of approximately 80% of the city of New Orleans caused by levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina. The claim is barred by the Flood Control Act of 1928. Section 702c provides immunity where, as here, a flood control project fails to control floodwaters because of the failure of the flood control project itself. In addition, the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act protects the Corps from liability with respect to allegations that it negligently granted a dredging permit for the 17th St. Canal. In issuing the permit, the Corps had to balance a myriad of factors, including flood hazards as opposed to the needs and welfare of the people. In dismissing the case, the court expressed its disappointment with the outcome, stating: "There is no provision in the law which allows this Court to avoid the immunity provided by §702c; gross incompetence receives the same treatment as simple mistake. "

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 37 ELR 20035.]