Levee Litigation Group Files Class Action Lawsuit Against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 31 Government Contractors Seeking Compensation for Property Damage Resulting from Hurricane Katrina-related Flooding
Suit Filed Last Week in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by Consortium of Law Firms on Behalf of New Orleans Area Residents
New Orleans, February 15, 2007 – The Levee Litigation Group (www.leveelaw.com) announces that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of thousands of Louisiana residents whose properties were damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. The suit, which was filed last week in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleges that the Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors were responsible for the breach of levees along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (“MRGO”), which directly flooded most of St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East. The Army Corps of Engineers began dredging and altering the natural terrain for the MRGO in 1957, causing tremendous environmental damage to protective wetlands that would have mitigated the flooding and subsequent damage to these hard hit areas.
Anyone who lived in Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish or Plaquemines Parish whose home sustained property damage is encouraged to protect their legal rights by contacting the Levee Litigation Group by visiting www.leveelaw.com or by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636). In order to protect their rights, victims must file a Standard Form 95 to make a claim against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Standard Form 95 is available at http://www.leveelaw.com/hkc.pdf.
Three months before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Dr. Hassan Mashriqui, a storm surge expert at Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center, called MRGO a “critical and fundamental flaw in the flood protection system that protects the New Orleans region.” The Army Corps of Engineers has already acknowledged responsibility for the flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. A 6,000-plus page report on the tragedy, prepared by the 150-member Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force assembled and headed by the Corps, found that the flooding was a result of failed levees which were built in a disjointed fashion using outdated methods.
The report concluded that the levees were inconsistent in quality, materials and design and that the inconsistencies left vulnerable gaps that were exploited by the storm. Engineers did not take into account the poor soil quality underneath New Orleans, the report said, and the failure to account for the sinking of land caused some sections to be as much as two feet lower than other parts. The report also blamed four breaches in canals that run through New Orleans on foundation failures that were not considered in the original design of these structures. These breaches caused two-thirds of the flooding in New Orleans.
The report follows another critical report by the University of California at Berkeley-led Independent Levee Investigation Team. This investigative team was comprised of members of academia, private industry and state and federal agencies. These investigators concluded that the devastation Katrina inflicted on New Orleans was caused by the failure of the system, calling it “unfinished” and “impotent.” The group said that floodwalls failed because they weren’t built safely enough to begin with, and that some levees washed away, not because they were overpowered by a storm surge, but because they were improperly built of sandy soils that failed before overtopping occurred. The group was highly critical of the Army Corps of Engineers, calling it “dysfunctional” and “unreliable.” They stated that, "New Orleans flooded not so much because there was a hurricane, but because of human error, poor decisions and judgments, and failed policies.”
Hurricane Katrina damaged 169 miles of the 350-mile system that was supposed to protect New Orleans. The storm was blamed for more than 1,570 deaths and $100-$200 billion in property damage in Louisiana alone. For more information on the Levee Litigation Group, or to request a free case evaluation, please visit www.leveelaw.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
About the Levee Litigation Group
The Levee Litigation Group is comprised of the following law firms: Lambert & Nelson, Reich & Binstock, Law Office of Daniel Becnel, Jr., Darleen M. Jacobs, Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshaue, Ashton R. O’Dwyer, Jr., Bruno & Bruno, Walter Dumas, F. Gerald Maples, Parker Waichman Alonso Mark LLP, Fayard & Honeycutt, Murphy Law Firm, Jim S. Hall & Associates and deGravelles, Palmintier, Holthaus and Frugé.
Andres Alonso, Esq.
Parker Waichman Alonso Mark LLP
Telephone: 1(800)-LAW-INF0 (1-800-529-4636)
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- Parker Waichman Alonso Mark LLP
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