Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington ruled May 1st that the federal government is indeed responsible for some of the flooding that occurred after Hurricane Katrina. The St. Bernard Parish government and several property owners in St. Bernard and the Lower 9th Ward are plaintiffs in the case. Judge Braden explained that the catastrophic flooding caused specifically by a specific ill-maintained navigation channel, (Mr. Go) in effect, was a “taking” of property under the Fifth Amendment, for which the plaintiffs must be compensated. It has not been determined how much the government will have to pay. Judge Braden set a conference for tomorrow in New Orleans to determine whether an agreement can be reached to have damages assessed by a mediator. Judge Braden has also not addressed in this ruling whether or not attorneys can seek class action status for future claims against the government.
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