Court Clears Army Corps of Liability for Katrina

Because the government can't be sued

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 25, 2012 9:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Army Corps of Engineers can't be held responsible for the devastation New Orleans suffered during Hurricane Katrina, a federal appeals court ruled today, overturning a lower court decision that could have left the government open to a host of lawsuits, CNN reports. The appeals court cited the "discretionary function exception," which holds that the government can't be sued for anything its agencies do if the function is discretionary. "Our application of the DFE … completely insulates the government from liability," the judges wrote.

A lower court had lambasted the corps for its "insouciance, myopia, and short-sightedness," awarded a number of Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish families thousands in damages, and opened the door for lawsuits that could have cost the government tens of millions more.

The London Avenue Canal floodwall that was breached after Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, is shown in this 2005 file photo.
The London Avenue Canal floodwall that was breached after Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, is shown in this 2005 file photo.   (AP Photo/Cheryl Gerber, File)
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