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Settlement of MRGO Katrina Flooding Lawsuits Urged

Jan 19, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

The federal government is being pressured by a Louisiana lawmaker to settle lawsuits stemming from Hurricane Katrina flooding blamed on the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers failure to maintian the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, also known as MRGO.

In November, U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. awarded over $719,000 to four different sets of MRGO flooding plaintiffs. Judge Duval’s ruling found that the Corps of Engineers’ negligent failure to maintain and operate MRGO properly was a substantial cause for the fatal breaching of the Reach 2 Levee and the subsequent catastrophic flooding of the St. Bernard Polder following Hurricane Katrina. The judge then went on to rule that the Corp’s failure to provide timely foreshore protection doomed the channel to grow to three times its design width and destroyed the banks which would have helped to protect the levee.

The federal government could still appeal the ruling, but has not said if it will do so.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville said  and should act now to settle MRGO lawsuits. “These families cannot afford to endure years in court while their government continues to frustrate their hopes of a resolution, ” stated Melancon, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “In light of the president’s steadfast dedication to recovery and Duval’s findings, I request that your office begin negotiations with these plaintiffs to resolve their claims and allow them to continue rebuilding their lives.”

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