Judge denies injunction that would have prevented work on New Orleans floodwalls

Alejandro de los Rios Jan. 18, 2011, 12:59pm


Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Kern Reese has denied an injunction filed by homeowners along the 17th Street Canal in New Orleans to halt construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen floodwalls.

New Orleans attorney Randall Smith filed an injunction on Jan. 5 on behalf of 13 New Orleans residents who own homes with backyards along the 17th Street Canal, which was breached during Hurricane Katrina and contributed to massive flooding in the city.

The injunction names the Orleans Levee District and the Southeastern Louisiana Flood Protection Authority, which gives the Corps of Engineers permission to work on the state-owned canal.

Reese made the ruling during a Jan. 15 hearing in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

He also gave leave to the plaintiffs to amend their petition to include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a defendant, which would likely cause the case to be removed to federal court.

The injunction was consolidated with another case filed by Smith in 2008, in which Reese ruled that the same homeowners were entitled to damages after the Corps of Engineers allegedly destroyed trees, fencing and other structures while strengthening the floodwall. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Kern's ruling in 2009.

The new injunction sought to halt any construction along the floodwall because residents claim that the land being worked on is their property and construction workers would be trespassing. It also stated that the noise from the construction would be disturbing to residents.

Orleans Parish Case 2011-00097 c/w 2008-06979

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