Melissa Landry, executive director at Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch recently told the Louisiana Record that she was appalled at details coming to light in a levee breach lawsuit settlement.
“Twelve years after the class-action lawsuit was filed, flood victims are receiving notices of settlement payments as little as $3,” Ms. Landry observed.
She is talking about a federal class-action lawsuit filed against Orleans, East Jefferson and Lake Borgne levee districts. A relatively small pot of money, $17 million must be divided to pay 120,000 claims filed after Hurricane Katrina. It had the effect of making storm survivors confused and angry. And this is understandable.
Furthermore, the settlement might appear that the levee districts have admitted at least partial responsibility for the flooding. However, in a case like this, a settlement is not evidence of wrongdoing. And a judge does not have to believe a plaintiff’s contentions have merit to approve a settlement.
The levee expert from Missouri did the honorable thing two years ago when he retracted a wrong conclusion contained in a NSF-funded levee investigation report.
FACT: The levees failed mainly due to a mistake the Army Corps made in the 1980s when interpreting the results of a levee load test study.
Dr. Rogers is a highly sought after expert and was asked to review a report on the Oroville Dam Spillway disaster in Butte County, California. His conclusion was remarkably similar to his conclusion about the Army Corps of Engineers levees which failed during Hurricane Katrina.
This week, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled in favor of two people who stood up to Big Business.
Cherri Foytlin and Karen Savage wrote a blog post asking questions about a company they thought was too soft on Big Oil after the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. That company – Cardno ChemRisk – sued them for defamation. The company lost and now must pay the legal fees.
These ladies’ victory is evidence that US citizens can win – even against corporate attorneys with fat wallets.
Levees.org should know. Because this same thing happened to the group not long ago.