- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A federal judge has blasted a U.S. law that lets the Army Corps of Engineers escape virtually unscathed in a Hurricane Katrina lawsuit over flawed levee construction in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval called the law, which grants legal immunity for the Corps, a “bureaucratic behemoth” in his opinion, United Press International reported.

“I feel obligated to note that the bureaucratic behemoth that is the Army Corps of Engineers is virtually unaccountable to the citizens it protects despite the Federal Tort Claims Act,” Mr. Duval wrote, UPI reported. “The public will very possibly be more jeopardized by a lack of accountability than a rare judgment granting relief. The untold billions of dollars of damage incurred by the greater New Orleans area as a result of the levee failures during Katrina speak eloquently to that point.”

Litigation over Katrina has spanned more than eight years. At root is what caused the levees to fail. A 1928 law protects the Corps from suits seeking damages.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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