Nov 19, 2009 8:44 AM by Associated Press

Katrina negligence ruling could cost taxpayers

A $720,000 award to seven plaintiffs in a suit over Hurricane Katrina damage could open the federal government--and taxpayers-- to billions of dollars in claims.

A federal judge in New Orleans has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding from Katrina.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better shot at claiming damages.

Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army Corps' shoddy oversight of the channel led to the flooding of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish.

Many in New Orleans have argued that the 2005 flooding was a manmade disaster caused by government failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city.


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