MRGO Flood Lawsuit
MRGO Flooding Property Damage Lawsuits
MRGO Flooding | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Residents: Failure to Maintain, Property Damage, Hurricane Katrina
If you are a Hurricane Katrina flood victim who sustained property damage or personal injury because of flooding attributable to MRGO (Mississippi River Gulf Coast Outlet), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may owe you compensation. A federal judge recently issued a ruling finding the Army Corps of Engineers liable for Hurricane Katrina flooding caused by its failure to properly maintain MRGO. Our MRGO flooding lawyers are currently offering free consultations to individuals or entities who lost property in Katrina because of flooding related to MRGO.
Our MRGO lawsuit consultation is available to those individuals and entities whose property was located in the following Louisiana zip codes: 70129, 70117, 70092, 70085, 70075, 70043, and 70032. To be eligible to file a MRGO lawsuit, claimants must have filed SF Form 95 claims with the Army Corps of Engineers on or before Aug. 29, 2007.
If you meet this criteria, and have not already retained an attorney, our MRGO flooding lawyers want to hear from you today.
The Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain MRGO left thousands of Louisiana residents vulnerable to flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The damage done to lives and property was immeasurable, and many victims of the Corps' MRGO negligence are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Our MRGO flooding lawyers are working to do everything legally possible to make sure the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is held accountable for its massive failure.
MRGO is a 76 mile navigation channel that was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers to provide a shorter route between the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans's inner harbor Industrial Canal via the Intracoastal Waterway. Completed in 1965, the construction of MRGO had required the Army Corps of Engineers to cut through swamp and wetlands that had once served to protect St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans from destructive storm surges, like the one that accompanied Hurricane Katrina.
In 2005, the MRGO channeled Hurricane Katrina's storm surge into St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans, contributing significantly to multiple engineering failures of the area's hurricane protection system, including the breach of the Reach 2 Levee. Subsequently, large areas of the surrounding community were flooded, resulting in massive loss of life and property.
There had been warnings for years that the design and poor maintenance of MRGO would put people and property at risk in the event of storm surge from a massive hurricane like Katrina. At trial in 2009, expert witness Sherwood M. Gagliano, a geologist and former consultant to the Corps, cited reports from as early as 1957 that claimed the canal would pose a danger to the people of St. Bernard Parish and reports of his own dating from 1972 that warned of the increased flooding risk from wetlands destruction.
He also testified that the Corps was aware of such research and even prepared a report in 1988 that mentioned “the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas” from MRGO. In spite of such assessments, Gagliano asserted that the Corps did little to reduce the risk. The government didn’t undertake any of the remedial efforts he recommended, he testified. This led to “one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the United States."
Since Hurricane Katrina, Congress has ordered the closure of MRGO. The waterway was officially closed to boat traffic in the spring of 2009.
Landmark MRGO Lawsuit Ruling
The flooding caused by MRGO prompted thousands of people living in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans to file lawsuits against the Army Corps of Engineers. Plaintiffs claimed that the channel's poor design and the Corps' failure to maintain MRGO had attributed to the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. The Corps had argued that the federal Flood Control Act shielded the government from liability for defective flood-control projects.
In April 2009, the first MRGO lawsuit against the Corp went to trial. On November 18, 2009, Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, issued a ruling finding the Army Corps of Engineers' negligent failure to maintain and operate the 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.
While Judge Duval did agree that the Army Corps of Engineers was not liable for flood damage stemming from the design of MRGO, he did rule that the Corps could be held liable for its negligent failure to properly maintain and operate the channel. 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 help to protect the levee.
“Once the corps exercised its discretion to create a navigational channel, it was obligated to make sure that channel did not destroy the environment surrounding it thereby creating a hazard to life and property,” Judge Duval wrote in his 156-page opinion. “When the corps designed the MRGO, it recognized that foreshore protection was going to be needed, yet the corps did nothing to monitor the problem in a meaningful way.”
Judge Duval then went on to award over $719,000 to four different sets of MRGO plaintiffs. If Judge Duval's landmark ruling is upheld on appeal, thousands of individuals and entities whose property was damaged or destroyed, or who suffered personal injury in Hurricane Katrina flooding could be eligible for compensation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Legal Help for Victims of MRGO Flooding
If you live in any of the Louisiana zip codes impacted by MRGO flooding, filed SF Form 95 claims with the Army Corps of Engineers on or before Aug. 29, 2007, and have yet to retain an attorney, you must act now to protect your legal rights. Please fill out our online form or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) to arrange for a free consultation with one of our experienced MRGO flooding lawyers.