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Johnson v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20055
Nos. No. 2006-CA-1223, (La. Ct. App., 01/30/2008)

A Louisiana appellate court affirmed in part a lower court decision in favor of residents who brought a class action suit against New Orleans for converting a municipal landfill into a residential area in the Ninth Ward. The city was negligent in its actions and inactions that resulted in the conversion of its own former municipal landfill into a residential area that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deemed unreasonably dangerous in 1994. The city's insurers were also liable to the residents for their physical and emotional damages. But while the trial court's award of damages for diminution of property values was proper, its award of damages for emotional distress "shocked the conscience." None of the residents had any physical injuries, and the amount awarded was much higher than what had been given in comparable emotional distress cases. Accordingly, the court reduced the trial court's award of damages by 50%.