A federal court ruled Friday, November 20, that the negligence of the US Army Corps of Engineers resulted to the failure of levees to stop flooding brought about by hurricane Katrina in 2005.
US District Judge Stanwood Duval wrote on his ruling, “The Corps’ lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions.” He also pointed out that the Corps had admitted in 1988 that the Mississippi Gulf River Outlet threatens human life but did not do anything to prevent possible catastrophe.
The levee system, which was designed to regulate water levels, suffered many breaches that eventually failed after the storm moved inland causing 80% of the area to be flooded and where the waters lingered for weeks.
The ruling opened a possibility of at least 100,000 more complaints which could bring billions of dollars in liabilities to the federal government. The government is expected to appeal the case.
The hurricane hit New Orleans last August 2005 with 1,836 confirmed dead, 705 missing and $81 billion worth of damages.