Legal News

5th Circuit Reverses Katrina Decision over Liability of Army Corps
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

On Monday, in an extraordinary move, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans withdrew its earlier ruling in March in which it had ruled in favor of more than 400 property owners attributing their Katrina-related property losses to neglect by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The plaintiffs had alleged that the delay made by the Army Corps of Engineers in armoring and strengthening the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel against flood damage had caused their loss of property from flood damage caused by Katrina. The plaintiffs also alleged that the Army Corps of Engineers had delayed in carrying out their responsibilities based upon incorrect scientific findings and did not consider their duties against public policy requirements.

However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in reversing itself, found that the Army Corps of Engineers cannot be held liable in the case.


Writing on behalf of the court, Judge Jerry Smith observed that the Army Corps of Engineers was immune from being sued under the “discretionary function exception” of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The said exception prevents people from suing the government where breach of duty involves discretionary and not statutory action on part of an agency.

The new decision in the matter also reverses the 2009 ruling of U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. who had found that in lawsuits arising out of Katrina’s flood damage, the federal government could not plead immunity.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Joseph Bruno said in an email, “The fact that the judges reversed themselves deserves an explanation … The decision is a slap in the face of the people devastated by the Corps’ gross negligence and an endorsement to the Corps to continue to put considerations of costs ahead of safety.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!



Associate Attorney


Qualification Requirements: Candidate must possess the requisite knowledge, skills and capability...

Apply now

Patent Paralegal


Boutique patent firm seeks experienced patent paralegal to support a small group of attorneys. This ...

Apply now

Staff Accountant

USA-CA-San Francisco

Levin Simes Abrams LLP has an immediate opening for a Staff Accountant to join our team and work clo...

Apply now

Attorney with some Unlawful Detainer experience preferred


Oakland based law office has an opening for an Unlawful Detainer Attorney This is a temporary to ...

Apply now




Search Now

Intellectual Property Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an intellectual property attor...

Apply Now

Electrical Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering Associate Attorney


Chicago office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks electrical engineering, computer s...

Apply Now



Jacksonville office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an attorney with 4-20 years o...

Apply Now


To Top