Notices have gone out notifying New Orleans area property and business owners about a plan for partial settlement of a federal class action lawsuit that claims substandard work by local levee districts caused levee breaches during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Under the proposal, the Orleans, Lake Borgne Basin and East Jefferson levee districts will place $20.8 million, the limits of their insurance policies, into a fund to benefit the “settlement class.” The class is defined as anyone who lived or owned property in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes when the 2005 storms hit and sustained property loss or injury because of the levee failures.
A hearing has been scheduled for April 2nd on this matter. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval will decide whether to certify the class and give final approval to the settlement. If Judge Duval approves the agreement, he will appoint a “special master” to recommend how the fund should be used to benefit the settlement class. The judge may later ask that a second notice be sent out explaining how the fund will be used. Those affected by the proposed settlement cannot exclude themselves from it, but they can object to approval of both the class and the settlement, either at the hearing or in writing. Written objections must be sent in by March 13th.
Source: The Times Picayune
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