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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Ruling in lingering post-Katrina flooding suit expected soon

Ruling in lingering post-Katrina flooding suit expected soon

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A decade-old lawsuit seeking damages from the U.S. government over flooding from Hurricane Katrina and other storms is moving closer to resolution, and a judge's latest filing indicates that at least some damages will be ordered.

Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington said in a document filed Wednesday that she will issue an order on liability in the case by May 4. She didn't say what her decision will be but set a May 6 settlement conference in New Orleans to discuss "a potential resolution of the damages in this case."

The 2005 lawsuit focuses on the now-closed Mississippi River Gulf Outlet — a federally built navigation canal blamed by many for flooding in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.

The suit says the construction, dredging and operation of the navigation canal, known in south Louisiana as "Mister Go," contributed to conditions that led to catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Hurricane Rita weeks later and other storms.

In effect, the suit argued, the damage caused by the flooding was an illegal "taking" of private property by the federal government without adequate compensation.

The MRGO was authorized by Congress in 1956, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and closed in the years after Katrina.

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