SLABBED Daily – May 16-17 (weekend edition)

An earlier version of the weekend SLABBED Daily was an invitation to brunch; but, it went back in the oven.  Not to worry, here’s something to chew on – Corps picks 11 for levee work

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts to 11 companies — most of them local and all but two in Louisiana — that could share up to $500 million in levee construction work.

Each company is expected to be awarded between $10 million and $50 million of work under a program that allows the corps to prequalify contractors it can later tap when work becomes available. The companies are all designated as small or disadvantaged…

The contracts will be for heavy construction work for levees; floodwalls; pump station construction or enlargement; road, culvert and canal construction or repair; concrete bridge work; earthen channel enlargement and concrete lining; concrete or stone armoring; and installing foreshore protection in water bodies in front of levees…

The issue of contractor liability is what made this story a brunch-buster – and what links it to MRGO and the Responders re: Katrina Consolidated Levee Breach Litigation.

Early last week (May 11) the MRGO Plaintiffs filed notice of Appeal of the Court’s decision regarding WGI, a contractor who worked on the levees prior to Katrina.

…the MRGO PSLC, on the behalf of the Class Representatives, all other named Plaintiffs in the individual cases in the above-captioned matter, and the putative Class of Plaintiffs they represent, hereby appeals the April 13, 2009 “Order”entering as a Final Judgement the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Washington Group International (“WGI”) in its Order and Reasons dated December 15, 2008.

An educated guess on my part is that Plaintiffs counsel noticed the Corps statement that contractors were liable – a statement that caught my eye as well as I had read the contrary evidence in the April 13 Order.

In re Katrina Canal Breaches…the Court found that WGI, a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, qualified for the defense within the scope of its work remediating an area adjacent to the Industrial Canal, and therefore it could not be held liable for any alleged defalcations in connection with breaches of levees of the Industrial Canal.WGI persuasively argues that the remaining complaints do not make any materially different allegations regarding its work on the Industrial Canal. Indeed, the only difference is an allegation regarding the use of heavy machinery in the course performing the remediation work. Plaintiffs that have opposed this motion for summary judgment cannot make any substantive argument to distinguish these complaints. The oppositions only raise the same facts and arguments as those that were raised in opposition to WGI’s original motion for summary judgment.

Therefore, this Court shall grant summary judgment to WGI, and furthermore this Court likewise finds that there is no just reason for delay in issuing a judgment in these cases.

In light of the apparent conflicting opinions on contractor liability, it would be interesting to know what the newly qualified contractors have been told.  We’ll keep watching the Appeal and let you know what happens.

One thought on “SLABBED Daily – May 16-17 (weekend edition)”

  1. In any event, I think Bruno’s Notice of Appeal will take care of my clients’ rights on appeal. But if not …[remainder of comment and additional comments on the post have been moved to the O’Dwyer page linked on the right sidebar]

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