Judge rules in favor of Katrina flood victims

NEW ORLEANS, LA (AP) - The plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers are savoring the taste of victory after a federal judge ruled that the corps caused the flooding of St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

Late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army Corps' shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to catastrophic flooding after Hurricane Katrina. Tanya Smith, one of the plaintiffs, says the case was not so much about compensation but making the corps accountable.

She says Katrina's devastation "could possibly have been avoided if something had been done" by the corps to fix the MRGO, a shipping channel dug in the 1960s as a shortcut from the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans. The channel has since been closed.

 (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)