In an opinion that could open the federal government to billions in damage claims, a judge ruled today that the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain an outlet channel led directly to disastrous flooding in and around New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “The people of this city have been vindicated,” one attorney tells the Times-Picayune. “They didn’t do anything wrong and it's time they be compensated.”
The suit was brought by four plaintiffs, and some 100,000 others could benefit from the ruling. However, Judge Stanwood Duval says the Corps’ management of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet did not affect the levees protecting other parts of New Orleans—and many areas were inundated when those levees failed.