A few days ago, we featured a piece from Countdown with Keith Olbermann about BP’s courtroom delay tactics that, as he puts it, “buys them time for the public to forget.” Given our Short Attention Span, who doesn’t think “forgetting” is virtually a guarantee?
In fact, unless you live in the Gulf, the continuing devastation caused by BP has pushed the continuing devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina off the front pages and cable news shows (except for the recent five-year anniversary and Spike Lee).
So today, we thought we’d bring you up to date on a few court cases from the storm that are still winding through the courts, and that reached important milestones this week.
First, “residents and property owners suing Jefferson Parish, former Parish President Aaron Broussard and his administration over widespread flooding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina scored a victory Wednesday when they were granted class-action status in the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.”
The lawsuits “blame the flood damage on a decision within Broussard's administration to evacuate 220 pump operators to Washington Parish as the major storm approached the Gulf Coast.” It should be noted that “Broussard testified in November 2007 that he did not deliver the order to evacuate the pump operators and told the court that he was ignorant of a ‘doomsday plan’ that called for such a decision.” We’ll see what happens.
Meanwhile, “a federal judge has thrown out nearly all constitutional claims in a lawsuit against Gretna and Jefferson Parish law enforcement agencies for their controversial decision to block stranded people from walking across the Crescent City Connection to the West Bank after Hurricane Katrina.… Several lawsuits related to the bridge blockade remain in New Orleans Civil District Court.”
Also, the Louisiana Supreme Court has “upheld a lower-court ruling tossing out Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s $35 million settlement of a class action suit because the deal was unfair to some policyholders.” The lawsuits “stemmed from delays in adjusting and settling claims from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.… In its 33-page decision issued Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that Citizens erred in settling one lawsuit and then claiming that agreement covered the plaintiffs in another class action lawsuit.”
And finally, “a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that an Army Corps of Engineers contractor was not entitled to immunity from being sued for its actions in removing debris on the east bank of the Industrial Canal next to a section of floodwall that failed during Hurricane Katrina. The decision means that the lawsuit filed against Boise, Idaho-based Washington Group International Inc. engineering and construction firm by flood victims in the Lower 9th Ward, eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish returns to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval for further action.”
We'll keep an eye out.