Court Rejects SWB Efforts to Limit Plaintiffs’ Claims
In yet another defeat for the Sewerage and Water Board, on December 15, 2017, Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott completely rejected the SWB’s most recent efforts to limit or eliminate Plaintiffs’ claims by denying 5 separate Motions for Partial Summary Judgment:
1. Whether the SELA Project is a hurricane protection project or flooding/drainage project, and the effect of this designation on recovery of damages;
2. Whether the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority should be sued as a defendant in the case;
3. Whether the pile driving that occurred on the SELA Project constitutes ultra-hazardous activity under strict liability law;
4. Whether the SWB is protected from liability pursuant to discretionary immunity;
5. Whether the SWB is the custodian or has “garde” of the SELA Project.
Denial of these Motions is a tremendous victory for plaintiffs, and means that our case will proceed to trial with all legal elements of our claims intact. Also heard were two matters concerning SWB expert Leonard Quick – a motion to compel production of documents, and a motion to hold Quick in contempt of court for purposely disobeying a previous order to produce the documents. Quick was hired by the SWB to conduct “pre-construction surveys” and place instrumentation throughout the neighborhoods to establish baselines for later use “in analyzing damage claims.”
Apparently, only Quick has the data involved in this years-long work; the SWB says that it did not store the information. Quick filed papers with the Court stating that our request involves 10 million data points and that he refuses to produce the data unless plaintiffs pay $125,000.00. Quick attempts to justify the price of production on the basis that the SWB owes him $3.8 million for his work on the SELA Project.
At the hearing, the Judge declined to hold Quick in contempt, but did order him to produce his data regarding the instrument readings he obtained for the SWB prior to the beginning of construction.The Court ordered the parties to retain IT personnel to examine Quick’s computer and report on the feasibility of extracting the data. Although she ordered the SWB to pay for this, the SWB’s lawyers objected to this once outside the courtroom, and it appears as of the time of this writing that this will be the subject of a further hearing.
The multi—year-long SWB drainage project is severely damaging homes and businesses in the historic uptown neighborhood.
The properties are experiencing major settlement and vibration damaged as a direct result of the project.
Damages include: broken foundation piers, sinking floors, cracked walls and doors and windows that no longer operate due to building movement.
HAS YOUR HOME BEEN DAMAGED, OR YOUR BUSINESS SUFFERED, AS A RESULT OF THE SWB DRAINAGE PROJECT?
The law may allow recovery for your loss. Help is available.The attorneys at Bruno & Bruno and the Whitaker Law Firm have joined together to represent the interests of the Uptown residents. Please contact us for a consultation!
Joseph Bruno (Attorney) | Email
37 years of practice –Joseph M. Bruno is widely regarded as a creative, energetic and outspoken advocate of victims’ rights, particularly in difficult and complex cases of liability. He is a defender of class action procedures, seeing them as an important balancing tool in our complex society.
Contact our team: 1-844-624-5556