MR-GO gets ready to go – Part 4: The Defense

Understanding the Defense of Robinson v Corps of Engineers requires two-column thinking related to the government sovereign immunity.  Judge Duval is of the opinion the immunity applies only to all decisions and actions related to the design and construction of the MRGO; (Column I), leaving, in the government’s words,  the only remaining actionable claim…whether the United States may be held liable for the Corps’ operation and maintenance of the channel; (Column 2).

The USA’s Trial Brief however, continues to press the claim that the United States is immune from this lawsuit and this Court lacks jurisdiction over the case.  The government defense strategy appears to be one of agreement with many of the Plaintiffs’ claims; but, with the perspective the claims represent actions and decisions protected by the immunity.  For example,

Bigger, stronger levees along the GIWW, the MRGO, and the IHNC could have prevented floodwaters from inundating Plaintiffs’ properties. Better operation and  maintenance of the MRGO could not have averted this tragedy and would not have prevented or lessened Plaintiffs’ alleged damage.

“Bigger, stronger levees” go in Column 1 as decisions and actions about construction are protected by the governments immunity, while “better operation and maintenance” would have been Column 2, unprotected.

Much to the government’s credit, however, there is no denial of what took place. Continue reading “MR-GO gets ready to go – Part 4: The Defense”

SLABBED Daily – April 16

An afternoon edition!  The MRGO documents are slow reading; but, I’m almost done.  Plus, we’ll be seeing more of Sop with the 15th deadline behind him.

Daily news has been a little slow – or so it seems with the Daily Journal just now picking up the story of Balducci’s handwritten Answer to Wilson v Scruggs.  Of course, the delay could be the website redesign that has produced urls that could choke tiny url.

Balducci’s most recent admission is that he conspired with Scruggs and others to influence Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in another legal-fees lawsuit, Wilson v. Scruggs…While DeLaughter denies it’s true, Scruggs admitted his part just a few days before DeLaughter was indicted in the matter. But Balducci takes it a step further…

Doesn’t he always take things a step further?  Speaking of taking things further, Y’all Politics posted a flash on the State’s attempt to claim the legal fees MCI paid to Joey Langston Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 16”

MR-GO gets ready to go – Part 3 – the Plaintiffs’ case

plantiffs-locationsThe most devastating catastrophe in American history was not an accident. But for the gross negligence of the United States Government-and particularly the Army Corps of Engineers-large portions of Greater New Orleans would not have been flooded.

Like MR-GO itself, what’s below the surface of Robinson v US Army Corps of Engineers is far from simple. The Plaintiffs’ Trial Brief tells the story.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was tasked to design a hurricane protection system to protect among other areas, New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward, and St. Bernard Parish from a maximum hurricane event. This project was termed the Lake Pontchartrain Vicinity Hurricane Protection Plan (LPVHPP).

Plaintiffs contend that the Corps design, construction, operation, and maintenance mrgo-focus-of-caseof the navigation channel, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) caused or contributed to the failure of the LPVHPP along Reach 2 of the MRGO causing catastrophic flooding of St. Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward in Orleans Parish, along the southern border of New Orleans East, New Orleans East; and along the east bank of the IHNC at the Lower Ninth Ward and causing flooding of both the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

mrgo-authorized-v-actual-3In the supporting Pretrial Proposed Facts and Conclusions of Law, Plaintiffs go 774 items deeper into the Plaintiffs’ claim the Corps is responsible for the MRGO flooding New Orleans and liable for the resulting damage. Continue reading “MR-GO gets ready to go – Part 3 – the Plaintiffs’ case”

Jim Brown on a subject that he is very familiar

021209-1234-jimbrownons1.pngThursday, April 16, 2009
New York City, New York


If you have followed the criminal case of former US Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska, a title of a future book or video could well be titled “prosecutors gone wild.” Stevens was convicted of accepting gifts from campaign supporters. But key notes taken by an FBI agent that would have significantly helped the Stevens defense were purposely kept from his defense team. He was defeated in a close election just a few days after the verdict was rendered. Federal prosecutors failed to follow basic rules of fair play. The federal judge in the case has ordered a full criminal investigation of the Justice Department employees involved. So is this an anomaly where prosecutors violate the law, and something like this rarely happens? Far from it. Prosecutorial misconduct, specifically withholding evidence that favors the defendant, has become almost a fact of life in the federal judicial system.

Misconduct by those who were charged with seeking justice is nothing new. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes makes a pretty clear case for the fact that injustice has been around for a long time. “I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of justice and equity. Do not be shocked at the site where justice has been denied.”

When the key FBI notes were finally given to Stevens’ defense team after the Senator was convicted, Stevens lead counsel had this to say about the actions of the prosecutors: “When we were finally given the notes, you might have thought my reaction would be to celebrate, do high-fives, that we were right. But it was note like that at all. I was sick to my stomach. How could they do that?”

It has also become clear that the failure to turn over key notes by the federal prosecutors was not merely an oversight. An FBI agent has now come forward and said in a sworn affidavit the he sat in on meetings where Stevens’ prosecutors were clearly aware that they were ignoring their professional obligations to turn over key notes that would have helped the defense counter the criminal charges. Continue reading “Jim Brown on a subject that he is very familiar”