Corps not liable for New Orleans damage

Sept. 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The Army Corps of Engineers is not liable for billions of dollars of flood damage to New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, an appeals court has ruled.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the corps is immune from damages because of a provision in the law governing suits against the federal government that protects an agency when it makes a discretionary decision, The (New Orleans) Times Picayune reported.

"At most, the corps has abused its discretion -- an abuse explicitly immunized" by the tort law provision, the appeals court said in a ruling Monday.

It concluded the corps is immune from lawsuits even though it may have abused its discretion or made errors in deciding against extra protection for the St. Bernard Parish levees.

Joseph Bruno, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he was surprised and disappointed by the panel's action.

The plaintiffs may request a rehearing by the full 5th Circuit or appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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