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Galloway Johnson Defeats Class Certification in Katrina Levee Failure Case

On behalf of our client, the State of Louisiana, Tim Hassinger of Galloway Johnson tried and defeated attempts to certify a class for what the Court termed the largest natural disaster in the history of the City of New Orleans.  Following Hurricane Katrina, the Plaintiffs filed suit in Louisiana state court to certify a class of all residents, domiciliaries, property owners, and business owners whose properties and businesses were damaged by flooding caused by the failure of the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue Canal hurricane protection levees and floodwalls.  The Plaintiffs estimated that the proposed class encompassed over 200,000 properties with some estimates of property damage at over $20 billion.

At trial of the class certification phase of the case last month, the Court held that the Plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of establishing the required class certification criteria, including commonality, predominance, and superiority.  After granting the Defendants’ Daubert challenge to the Plaintiffs’ final witness, a proposed expert geotechnical engineer, the Court granted judgment in favor of the Defendants and denied class certification.  Laurendine v. Board of Commissioners for the Orleans Levee Board, et al., Docket No. 05-11660, Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.