facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Jury finds parish leaders not guilty of misconduct during Katrina

Feb. 6, 2014 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

GRETNA, La., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A Louisiana jury says a former parish president is innocent of "willful misconduct" in ordering the evacuation of pump operators during Hurricane Katrina.

The jury also found that while Jefferson Parish government was negligent in acting on its so-called doomsday plan, the government was not responsible for the resultant flooding, the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Thursday.

The doomsday plan, part of the parish's emergency operations policy, was developed by Jefferson Parish officials specifically to deal with the evacuation of parish employees in the event of a hurricane estimated at Category 4 or stronger. It has since been scrapped.

Parish President Aaron Broussard implemented the plan the day before Katrina hit the parish Aug. 29, 2005, ordering the evacuation of about 200 drainage workers to Mount Hermon in Washington Parish, two parishes to the north adjacent to the Mississippi state line, the newspaper said.

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit charged flooding from the storm was caused because the evacuation left no workers to manage the pumps. Attorneys for the parish claimed the drainage system wasn't designed to handle a storm as strong as Katrina and that the pumps would have been ineffective against the tidal surge.

Dennis Phayer, the parish's lead attorney, told the jury during closing arguments that even if the doomsday plan was "a stupid plan, ill-conceived, wrong headed, bad idea ... it certainly does not rise to the level of willful misconduct."

He said the government could have guilty of willful misconduct if it had ordered drainage workers to stay at their stations and some of them died as a result.

One of the plaintiffs' attorneys, Richard Martin, argued that no one thought the pump operators should have stayed at work during the storm, but that they should have been evacuated within the parish so they could work longer. Pump workers could have stayed at hospitals in Marrero and Metairie to which parish councilmen evacuated, he said.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Poll: Voters don't like Republicans but will vote for them Poll: Voters don't like Republicans but will vote for them
2
Playboy Magazine names UPenn top party school for 2014 Playboy Magazine names UPenn top party school for 2014
3
Father of five children thought they would kill him, feed him to dogs Father of five children thought they would kill him, feed him to dogs
4
Texas woman set for execution for starving girlfriend's son Texas woman set for execution for starving girlfriend's son
5
Occupy Wall Street celebrates 3-year anniversary by forgiving $4 million of student debt Occupy Wall Street celebrates 3-year anniversary by forgiving $4 million of student debt
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback