Katrina Victims Can't Sue Army Corps

Judge sympathizes but says feds have immunity
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 10:19 PM CST
The London Avenue Canal floodwall that was breached after Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, is shown in this 2005 file photo. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval threw out a key class-action lawsuit Wednesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) –  A federal judge ruled yesterday that thousands of New Orleans homeowners affected by devastating levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina can't sue the Army Corps of Engineers, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Judge Stanwood Duval called the case "heart-wrenching" but said a 1928 law gives the Corps immunity from such suits. The failures of three levees caused 80% of the flooding after Katrina.

The judge noted that millions of dollars had been "squandered" by the Corps on inadequate flood protection, but he said the court had no power to address those wrongs. "It is hopefully within the citizens of the United States power to address the failures of our laws and agencies,'' Duval said in his ruling. "If not, it is certain that another tragedy such as this will occur again.'' The ruling will be appealed.