[StBernard] Katrina Victims Can Pursue Takings Claim

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Aug 12 16:12:28 EDT 2009

Katrina Victims Can Pursue Takings Claim
(CN) - Residents in St. Bernard Parish, La., and the Ninth Ward of New
Orleans have legal standing to pursue a takings claim against the Army Corps
of Engineers after Hurricane Katrina flooded the area in 2005, the Court of
Federal Claims ruled.
The Washington, D.C.-based court ruled that flood damage following
Hurricane Katrina was caused by the inadequate construction and maintenance
of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.
Residents sued the Army Corps of Engineers almost two months after
Katrina traveled up the channel, overwhelmed the levees and flooded the area
in August 2005. They argued that the 76-mile channel's construction made
their properties vulnerable to flooding.
The federal claims court said the landowners established that they
owned property in St. Bernard Parish or the Ninth Ward of New Orleans that
experienced severe flooding during the hurricane, as well as "intermittent
reoccurring flooding fairly traceable to the construction, operation and
maintenance of the (channel.)"
The court, however, dismissed a part of the complaint arguing they were
deprived of future benefits and profits of their land as a result of the
"The 'Just Compensation Clause' only affords a financial remedy for
property loss caused by the physical taking of private property," Judge
Braden wrote. "The sovereign must pay only for what it takes, not for
opportunities the owner loses."

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