November 20, 2009--Effects of judge's Katrina ruling could be huge (Los Angeles Times)

The harshly worded legal ruling that held the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for much of the flooding during Hurricane Katrina could have a far-reaching effect on national flood-control policies and on the federal government's long-standing refusal to take responsibility for its errors. U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. issued the stinging rebuke to the corps late Wednesday for its failure to properly manage a navigation channel and levees, which he ruled were directly responsible for much of the flooding that devastated New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish. Although only a handful of homeowners shared in about $700,000 in damages, city officials said the principles established in the ruling would open the door to more than 100,000 claims by residents and businesses pending against the government in the areas covered by the ruling. But more than just deciding this lawsuit, the power and depth of Duval's 156-page opinion could influence the design of levees that protect communities against rivers and shorelines in almost every state.

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