Federal Judge Grants Class Action Status to New Orleans Post Katrina Flooding Case
May 05, 2016 05:50 AM EDT
On Wednesday, a federal judge who ruled last year that the federal government should take full responsibility for some of the flooding that occurred in New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina and other typhoons granted class-action status in the case. This means numerous property owners could be in line for compensation.
The case focuses on the Ninth Ward in New Orleans and the St. Bernard Parish which held the now-closed Mississippi River Gulf Outlet liable for the damages caused by the flooding. According to ABC News, the lawsuit stated that "the construction and operation of the navigation canal added more damage that led to catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Hurricane Rita weeks later and other storms."
It also argued that the federal government committed a violation. Federal Claims Judge Susan Braden agreed to the class-action status on Wednesday. In May 2015, Braden ruled MR-GO's "construction, expansions, operation and poor maintenance contributed the flooding, and the flood damage amounted to a federal taking of property," Daily Progress cited.
The ruling on Wednesday, however, renewed some details in the original lawsuit, which include the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the compensation to the storm-related damages. Braden has also given emphasis on what she referred as "test properties" in the said case. She will also take an appellate review of the case, which she estimated will take at least one year.
In 1956, the Congress authorized MRGO to become a shortcut from the Mississippi River all the way to the Mexico Gulf. The operation was finished years later, and in 2009, it was closed down.
Last year, lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked for the case to be certified as a class-action, meaning other affected property owners might benefit from the ruling if the judge agrees. However, as to how many might benefit and how much money will be involved is still unclear. Moreover, federal attorneys could appeal.