MR-Go gets ready to go to trial – Part 1: the Government’s seven motions in limine

Motion in limine (Latin: “at the threshold“) as in a motion filed by the opposing party when a policyholder is “at the threshold” of victory – or so it seems in Katrina insurance litigation. Simply, and accurately stated, however, a motion in limine is a pre-trial motion filed to exclude certain evidence at trial.order-and-reasons-summary-judgment-denied_page_12-3

Seven such motions have been filed by government attorneys representing the Corps of Engineers in the lawsuit that began as Robinson v Corps of Engineers and evolved into the Consolidated Katrina Litigation where it’s known as the MRGO case.

“What in limine motions are not designed to do is to replace the dispositive motions prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure.  It has become increasingly common, however, for litigants to utilize in limine motions for this purpose.”
( Amtower v. Photo Dynamics, Inc. (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1582)…

Plaintiffs’ attorney Piece O’Donnell expands on this point in the “blanket opposition” filed as Continue reading “MR-Go gets ready to go to trial – Part 1: the Government’s seven motions in limine”

“but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before…”

Some things one can never become accustom to – and boating down the street where you live falls into that category; but, that’s exactly what residents of Pacific, Washington found themselves doing on the 9th of January.

Like a growing number of businesses, they’re looking for a bailout.  In this case, however, it’s literal. h/t Editilla

The checks are being handed out to many victims of last month’s floods. But in the city of Pacific, flood victims and the mayor are restless, saying their flood was not an Act of God. They are looking for who is to blame, and who they can sue.

On January 9th, part of the town of Pacific was up to its hips in water from the White River. Over 100 homes were inundated after the Army Corps of Engineers released water from Mud Mountain Dam, which was reaching a dangerously high level during the storm.

The Corps insists it didn’t release any more water than they did during the flood of 2006, when only the city park flooded. Why the same action produced such difference consequences is still a mystery.

But now the town wants immediate relief and the government to pay for the damages…

“We are not there to make your house as livable as it might have been,” said Jack Heesch with FEMA. “Our primary response is to make that house safe, sanitary and habitable.”

That is the message for all those flooded. FEMA may replace your furnace and treat the mold. But FEMA is not insurance. It’s emergency help.

Right, FEMA is emergency help – disaster assistance – no more intended to be reinsurance for the Corps than the first responder when someone forgets to turn off their bathwater and floods their house. Continue reading ““but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before…””

Wiped off the map by “double trouble”?

Sunday’s Sun Herald completes the picture of the double-trouble flood maps with two weekend stories that illustrate the challenges facing post-Katrina coastal Mississippi and Louisiana.

Admittedly, it’s also a challenge for those of us who live inland to understand how much control the federal government has over coastal property owners and their communities – much less the eventual impact this control has on a coastal state.

Consequently, it’s important to understand the stated purpose of the flood zone maps is to set flood insurance rates, regulate development in flood plains, and let people know about the risk they face.  It’s also helpful to be fluent in  FEMA-speak, which I’m not, or at least be familiar with two key terms A Zone (flood hazard zone) and V Zone (high flood potential velocity zones) and forgiving of my overly simple translation.

In Louisiana, FEMA’s new maps have triggered complaints from several parishes that the elevation data put too many towns in flood zones – guaranteeing they’ll never rebuild and recover from the hurricanes of 2005 and 2008.

If you recall Sop’s post, Political tap dancing Ground Zero style  the tap dancing took place in Bay St. Louis when much of that community was about to be mapped off the map, so to speak.  Let’s start with the update from Bay St. Louis. Continue reading “Wiped off the map by “double trouble”?”

How do you spell “double trouble”? F-E-M-A-C-O R P S

If the idea of a partnership between FEMA and the Corps of Engineers doesn’t keep you up at night, nothing will.  Ugh, just as I was about to call it a night,  I found a message telling me that I missed a big story on the “F-word”.  h/t unowhour

A state coastal commission is mounting a strategy to persuade FEMA to back off its current timelines for implementing dramatically new flood zone maps across southern Louisiana so that alleged flaws in the data can be corrected.

The recently prepared maps, which would affect insurance rates and building elevations, are a rapidly emerging issue for parishes where flood zones are being re-evaluated since the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes.

State officials have asked Federal Emergency Management Agency to pause its map process to await new data. FEMA has refused…

FEMA’s recent correspondence with state officials clearly indicates a new day is dawning in the federal attitude toward insuring coastal parishes.

FEMA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, is creating new digital flood insurance rate maps, called DFIRMS, which it insists are state-of-the-art. FEMA has been sharing the preliminary maps and discussing them with each parish.terrebonneparish1

Hellsbells, DFIRMS are DDEVIL himself – and the Cooperating Technical Partners Program dwolf in dsheep’s clothes.

FEMA is seeking qualified Partners to collaborate in maintaining up-to-date flood hazard maps and other flood hazard information. Continue reading “How do you spell “double trouble”? F-E-M-A-C-O R P S”

Sher went back to the levee – still came up dry but will Corps get by?

I’m going to take the easy way out and post the Sher update from this comment on the ALL Board.

The Louisiana Supreme Court refused Tuesday to reconsider its recent ruling that an insurance company isn’t liable for water damage from the failure of levees in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

The court ruled in April that Lafayette Insurance Co. isn’t obligated to pay policyholder Joseph Sher, the owner of a New Orleans apartment complex, for water damage from levee breaches after the August 2005 hurricane.

Sher’s lawyers asked the court for a rehearing on that issue, but the justices rejected their request Tuesday without giving an explanation.

“It’s over now,” said attorney Howard Kaplan, who represents Lafayette. “It puts the flood issue to an end.”

Last year, a state appeals court ruled that Lafayette’s homeowner policy failed to exclude all forms of flooding because its language was ambiguous. The Supreme Court disagreed, however, and said Lafayette is entitled to limit its liability for damage from a levee breach.

Our friends at the Ladder have been on top of levee stories and had this report on a new attempt to hold the Corps accountable – along with some interesting history. Continue reading “Sher went back to the levee – still came up dry but will Corps get by?”