Marsh land destruction not foreseeable cause of Katrina damage

In re the Complaint of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 4013336 (5th Cir.(La.) Oct 14, 2010)

In this consolidated limitation action, Claimants, Hurricane Katrina floodvictims, filed claims against the Limitation Petitioners, private companies thatoperated twenty-two dredging vessels along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet pursuant to contracts with the United States Army Corps of Engineers.Claimants suffered damages from the flooding of Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes when several levee systems failed as a result of the erosion of protective wetlands allegedly caused by the Limitation Petitioners’ negligent maintenance dredging operations. The Limitation Petitioners moved to dismiss the claims under FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(1) and 12(c). The district court granted the motion to dismiss, finding that the Limitation Petitioners owed no duty to the Claimants because the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was not a foreseeable result of the allegedly negligent conduct of any Limitation Petitioner. Claimants timely appealed. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

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