By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) - Livingston Parish’s arbitration over $59 million in Hurricane Gustav-related cleanup work will move forward.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1k6BYfX) the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals denied Tuesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s motion to dismiss or delay the case.

The Washington, D.C., judicial panel said the parish met the requirements of the so-called “Gustav statute,” a provision of federal law that gives the parish an independent forum for appealing FEMA’s denials of the parish’s claims for reimbursement.

Parish President Layton Ricks said parish officials are “ecstatic” over the ruling.

“Our parish has cleared a major hurdle to obtain the funds for which the parish is ultimately responsible,” Ricks said.



The next step will be for the judicial panel to set a schedule for the proceedings, including a hearing date, Ricks said

The parish is seeking recovery of $44,002,901, for removing debris from the parish’s waterways after the 2008 storm; $14,096,899, removal of “leaners and hangers” (trees that posed an immediate threat to public safety); and $1,083,344 for direct administrative costs, Ricks said.

The $59 million claim is the largest amount to-date sought through arbitration with FEMA, attorney Hilary S. Cairnie, who is handling the parish’s case, told the Parish Council.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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