Thursday, January 31, 2008

When the Corps Can Do No Wrong

We were one of the 500,000 who filed claims against the Army Corps of Engineers for damages that arose when their crappy drainage walls and levees broke and flooded the city in August 2005. Our claim was for about $100,000, which covered the increased cost of living expenses that arose when we haven't been able to live in our house for the past 2 1/2 years, and also the funds we needed to rebuild that were not covered by Road Home money. But yesterday, Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers is not liable for the damage they caused me, my neighbors, and the citizens of New Orleans. It's not that I expected that I'd ever receive money from the Corps, and it was a miracle that a year later they even acknowledged that their levees were awful, but once again the people are screwed and the entity that did all this damage isn't liable. The contractor rebuilding my house would certainly be liable if he built a bad ceiling that caved in, so why not the corps? Judge Duval did give the Corps a stern talking-to, and he said:
"Often, when the King can do no wrong, his subjects suffer the consequences. Such is the case here. This story -- 50 years in the making -- is heart-wrenching. Millions of dollars were squandered in building a levee system with respect to these outfall canals which was known to be inadequate by the corps' own calculations."

I'm sure the Corps feels just awful because of these scathing comments. Not bad enough to suspend or fire anyone, but sort of the shake your head up and down and promise to do better kind of feeling awful. Anyway, I need to put this behind me and get ready for the Muses parade tonight. And if you know anyone with an extra $100,000 laying around, send it my way.

Update: Muses and the other parades cancelled due to the massive thunder storms moving in, so we'll be at home watching the season premiere of Lost.


Anonymous said...

Bring your shrump boots and a tarp!

mominem said...

Hardly anyone who actually designed the levees that failed is still working at the Corps. "Firing the Innocent" is hardly a solution.

On the other hand, the legal battle has just begun.

Pretty much every lawyer I've talked to has said that the only real hope is to get a higher court to find a reason to rule that either the Flood Protection Act is either flawed, unconstitutional or interpreted improperly.

That is the job of the higher courts. This judge maybe has done us a favor by dismissing on those grounds now, leading to a speedy appeal.

If the case were tried it would take years and the same appeal would stil be filed by the Corps.