A Valentine for Ivor van Heerden

Well, sort of.  I snitched the great video Ken McCarthy posted in comments and “wrapped” it in this post.  Please take a look and Be Mine – pass it on!

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Editilla shares a scoop – Leslie Jacobs enters Mayor’s race

What a pal!  Editilla just hung this Breaking News on the Ladder.

We just got this from her sister-in-law, Sandy Rosenthal, founder and executive director of Levees.org. This doesn’t signify an endorsement of her candidacy as much as signal, to Editilla, that New Orleans Flood Safety will be first and out front in Leslie Jacob’s platform as her brother is on the board of the Flood Protection Alliance and his wife founded Levees.org.

Amazing when you consider today is All Saints Day!  They’re marching! (and SLABBED is in line right behind the Editilla)

Editilla on Hope a Dope

Irreverently insightful and, at times, just so damn funny I laughed aloud, Editillia does us proud.

We were all set to see our Hope Vote validated this past 8/29 Anniversary, but His O’ner blew our Holy Day in The City The Corps Forgot to go on vacation after only 6 months on the job and play golf at a Rich People’s Place. Thus we saw the ‘Hope’ first begin to uncoil.

Then we heard about the White House trip to the Gulf, a 3 Hour Tinkle-Stop Tour, to check on the status of Hurricane Katrina recovery by A) Not going to Mississippi where Katrina actually hit, causing total devastation, and B) Going to New Orleans where Katrina did not hit and did not cause our total devastation –thence we saw the ‘A’ -hidden behind his back, a foreign object.

Then the Big Show finally arrives amidst obvious disregard and Presidential hubris that we should all be so grateful the president took the time to come and blow smoke up our asses and use our wounded city to Campaign for his Health Care/Economic Thingy.

Butt, it wasn’t until His O’ner opened his mouth and out came the Wise Blood channeling Elmer Gantry (as a Yankee might think we southerners behave in “N’Awlins”) that Editilla saw the scene completed, saw the ‘Dope’. That is when I saw His O’ner “just getting started” on his wind-up to whip us with Hope’A’Dope. Continue reading “Editilla on Hope a Dope”

Fifth Circuit vacates District Court ruling in Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation

The Fifth Circuit posted two unpublished opinions today and both vacated the ruling of the District Court in Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation re: Jefferson Parish. Actually, the Fifth Circuit posted one of the two unpublished opinions under two different numbers! That I realized after spending more time than I’ll confess to spending pouring over each to find the difference – before I had the presence of mind to hit the zoom and saw each had the same number (#$%&!)

This is a consolidated appeal of the district court’s dismissal of claims against Jefferson Parish, Louisiana in two cases concerning property damage from flooding that occurred as a result of the levee breaches in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.The plaintiffs-appellants, property owners in Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish, allege that the property damage resulted from deficiencies in the New Orleans flood protection system. In their original complaints, filed on August 28, 2006, the plaintiffs-appellants named as defendants the Board of Commissioners of the Orleans Levee District, the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, the East Jefferson Levee District, Jefferson Parish, and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

In their second amended complaints filed on April 11, 2007, the plaintiffs-appellants added the United States as a defendant. On October 12, 2007, the district court dismissed the claims against Jefferson Parish in both actions. On March 27, 2008, the district court entered final judgments under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) with regard to those claims, and the plaintiffs-appellants appealed. This appeal solely concerns the plaintiffs-appellants’ claims against Jefferson Parish. The plaintiffs-appellants’ claims against other defendants, including the United States, are still pending in the district court. Continue reading “Fifth Circuit vacates District Court ruling in Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation”

SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay

SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay who posted comments here several months ago, a man of courage who stepped forward and told the cost of floodwalls that failed to protect the city of New Orleans.

I am one of the crazy people from a flooded area in New Orleans.We rebuilt our home – above the Katrina flood line. The kids are back in school and seem ok. Over 60% of our neighbors are back. Things are looking up.

Nevertheless, I cry uncontrollably nearly every day. While I have been fortunate (up until recently) to have work since the levee failures, the crying and stuff has made it a lot harder to be productive in my work and I don’t think co-workers want to be around people like me.

I think of suicide daily too. Yes, I am getting talk therapy as well as medications that make me cry less at the expense of my motivation and attention. Call me names if you must, but I am doing the best I can.

Why are we feeling so crazy? There are a number of reasons:

1. People claim our disaster, in New Orleans, was a natural disaster, when in fact our outfall canal floodwalls fell down long before even being overtopped by floodwaters because of stupid engineering mistakes made in the floodwall foundation designs by US Army Corps of Engineers’ engineers as reported in all three levee failure investigation reports. Continue reading “SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay”

Insurer defendants attempt detour of Road Home

Having discovered the detour attempted by the insurer defendants of Louisiana’s Road Home litigation – a petition to the Fifth Circuit with leave to file an Interlocutory Appeal granted the 19th of this month – SLABBED turns to the orders of Judge Duval for background on the issues under Appeal.

The Louisiana Road Home program is a grant program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and operated by the Louisiana Recovery Authority. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Congress appropriated funds for disaster relief to be administered through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program. HUD distributed some of these funds to Louisiana, which in turn created the Road Home program to distribute these funds as grants to homeowners. Road Home grants are designed to compensate homeowners up to $150,000.00 for structural damage, exclusive of contents damages, caused by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

Katrina litigation in Louisiana has suffered from the Fifth Circuit’s overly broad definition of “flood” and off-the-wall ruling on anti-concurrent causation, as well as the heavily promoted image of “Katrina the flood”.   However, Sop will likely be as surprised as I to learn, Despite the request of this Court, the State could not point to any federal statute or regulation governing the Road Home program that could create a legal subrogation.

Congress appropriated disaster assistance funds to existing federal programs, including HUD’s CDBG program, subject to rules governing the allowable use of program funds.  The CDBG rules required each recipient state to develop and submit a plan for approval and the federal approval process includes a review to ensure a plan is consistent with related federal law.

Consistent with federal law, the Road Home program prohibits providing any relief Continue reading “Insurer defendants attempt detour of Road Home”

Slabbed welcomes Wayne Weiser: “Why Katrina was the fault of man’s malfeasence”

Mr Weiser is retired after thirty nine years with US Army Corp of Engineers in the New Orleans district. He has compiled a boatload of research and given his experience with USACE his perspective is interesting in light of the ongoing NOLA area flood control rebuilding and MRGO litigation.

I’ll also add that while we have been highly critical of FEMA at times we also greatly valued the input we received from rank and file FEMA employees as we welcome all viewpoints here at Slabbed. While we are primarily insurance and legally oriented we have a big enough tent to include NOLA flood control as a topic.  If you are with the USACE and are moved to comment we’d love to hear from you. – sop

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brief? Not if it’s 125 pages – a MRGO post-trial update

Post Trial Briefs–no Findings of Fact or Conclusions of Law are required to be filed and are optional. Briefs cannot exceed 125 pages…

  • Plaintiffs’ Post-Trial Memorandum shall be filed by June 18, 2009.
  • Defendants’ Post Trial Memorandum shall be filed by July 20, 2009.
  • Plaintiffs’ Reply Memorandum shall be filed by August 3, 2009.

With the issues Judge Duval wants briefed, 125 pages may be a bit of a squeeze, as these examples from the three-page list in his Order detailing the post-trial briefing schedule suggest:

  • Explain why some levees failed and others did not and how that supports the Plaintiffs’ theory of front side erosion and lateral subsidence.

Grit and grocer win $3.5 million – Ferrara v Lafayette Insurance (Corrected)

Credit the New Orleans firm Capitelli and Wicker with the grit to win a $3.5 million jury award for Ferrara’s Supermarket.  The grocer had been in business 99 years before the Elysian Fields location was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Attorneys Carey Wicker and James Watkins brought home the bacon for the Plaintiffs with evidence  Lafayette’s engineer was not licensed to practice in Louisiana or supervised by a Louisiana licensed engineer as the law requires “direct control and personal supervision”.

While the engineer’s qualifications were clearly a significant issue, the Plaintiffs had a strong case against Lafayette.  A reader from New Orleans provided SLABBED with a summary of the case tried in State court:

During Hurricane Katrina, wind and driving rain opened spaces in the roof, walls, doors and windows of the supermarket, and water and moisture entered the premises causing extensive damage.

Additionally, uplift forces on the flat roof (wind blowing over parapet) caused structural damage to the north-facing wall of the building as well as roof framing members’ connection to that wall. That structural damage, solely caused by wind forces, rendered the building a total loss Continue reading “Grit and grocer win $3.5 million – Ferrara v Lafayette Insurance (Corrected)”

SLABBED Daily – June 2

The phrase “reduce our risk” does not exist here, because them, that is not an option. In Holland, they essentially obliterate risk.

Editilla’s Ladder has been full of stories about Holland’s  “we shall live with, enjoy and also protect our selves from water” attitude, including the one with these quotes from levees.org.

Last evening, I went over and scooped up as many links as I could to reports from the study group headed by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and Lisa Jackson, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) .

Louisiana Senator Landrieu, EPA Head, Jackson lead Netherlands Delegation on Day One.

Netherlands, Louisiana, New Orleans and the US: The Color of Water

Louisiana Delegation, Landrieu, EPA Jackson Continue Study of Netherlands

The Dutch strive to make their country ‘climate proof’ is a related story in the New York Times that’s well worth a read – and Losing Louisiana:  A Tale of Two Coasts, the package posted in the online Advertiser is top flight

U.S. environment chief praises Dutch water systems provides the closing summary:

The top U.S. environmental official said Tuesday that America can learn much from the way the Dutch manage water — focusing more on living with it than on trying to control it at every turn. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – June 2”