Lawsuits fly over Katrina seniors' deaths

Sept. 6, 2006 at 9:44 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal grand jury will decide if owners of a New Orleans-area nursing home were negligent in the drowning deaths of 35 seniors during Hurricane Katrina.

The 14-member grand jury is to begin meeting Sept. 20 in St. Bernard Parish to determine if Sal and Mable Mangano, owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home, should face negligent homicide charges for not evacuating the residents during last August's storm, USA Today reported.

A 13-foot wall of water smashed into the 20-year-old nursing home when levees failed and there has been a flurry of lawsuits since, the newspaper said.

Aside from the grand jury probe, 35 civil lawsuits have been filed against the Manganos by relatives of those who died or were injured, and last week, the Manganos filed a civil lawsuit against federal, state and local officials, claiming they failed to evacuate St. Rita's residents as Katrina approached.

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