February 9, 2007
Reported by: Associated Press
The federal government and Army Corps of Engineers are targeted in a new lawsuit that alleges flooding during Hurricane Katrina was the fault of a corps decision to allow dredging of the 17th Street Canal, weakening the soil base that supported its levees.
The suit, which seeks class-action status and unspecified damages, was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court by a legal team led by Joseph Bruno and representing seven residents of the Lakeview area. The neighborhood was hard hit by flooding when a levee on the east side of the 17th Street Canal broke.
If class-action status is granted, tens of thousands of New Orleans residents and claims in the tens of billions of dollars could be affected.
The suit's basic argument - liability of the corps - was bolstered by a decision last week. In that ruling, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval allowed to go forward a suit charging the corps with liability for flooding of eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish from the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet. The ship channel, maintained by the corps, connects New Orleans' inner harbor with the Gulf of Mexico. Bruno is also involved in this suit.