Saturday, May 16, 2015

Here come some more SELA lawsuits

Napoleon Avenue summertime
Napoleon Avenue August 2009

Napoleon Avenue SELA
May 2015

More or less what everyone expected was inevitable.
A group of Uptown property owners — three families to start, but expected to number in the hundreds as the case grows — filed suit this week against the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, seeking compensation for damage to their homes from proximity to the installation of major new drainage canals along some of Uptown’s largest thoroughfares, their attorney said.

The lawsuit does not allege any negligence by the government and does not even name the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or its contractors as defendants, said Michael T. Whitaker, the California-based attorney representing the families. Instead, Whitaker said, it simply claims that the broken foundations, cracked walls, business losses, blocked driveways and even reduction in property values all represent a form of eminent domain contrary to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits private property from being taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The case covers damages to homes along each of the corridors that are part of the ongoing Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Program — Jefferson (which includes a four-block stretch on Prytania Street), Napoleon and Louisiana avenues. Whitaker said his lawsuit is heavily modeled on a similar case from a decade ago (known as the “Holzenthal” case for one of the families involved) after an early SELA project drainage canal was installed in Broadmoor.
Basically there's a new phase of lawsuits to go with each new phase of the project.  Supposedly we're in the home stretch now so this suit should cover the final phases of the project Uptown.  Only 3 more years to go!

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