High court declines to hear Katrina case

Advocate file photo -- Water surrounds homes just east of downtown New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Show caption
Advocate file photo -- Water surrounds homes just east of downtown New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the dismissal of a landmark ruling that the Army Corps of Engineers was liable for billions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina flood damage that property owners blame on the corps’ maintenance of a New Orleans shipping channel.

The Supreme Court didn’t offer any reasons for Monday’s decision.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed itself last year and tossed a 2009 ruling by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. The judge had rejected the federal government’s argument that it is entitled to immunity from lawsuits blaming Katrina’s flood damage on the corps’ operation and maintenance of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet navigation channel.

The 5th Circuit said the corps is insulated from liability by a provision of the Federal Tort Claims Act.