JUDGE RULES N.O. SEWERAGE & WATER BOARD IS LIABLE IN SELA UPTOWN DRAINAGE CASE
January 8, 2020, New Orleans, LA – Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott ruled that the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board (SWB) is legally responsible for the substantial damages caused to over 350 uptown homes and businesses as a result of construction of the massive SELA drainage project. The Court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment adjudging the city agency the sole responsible party for claims of inverse condemnation, custodial liability and timber pile driving claims. See attached signed judgment.
According to plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Whitaker, all that is left now is for each claimant to prove the extent of the damage to their property. The ruling means claimants who provide evidence of damage will have their claims more swiftly decided and judgment entered in their favor. Trial on the next 20 claims is set for Tuesday, Jan. 14. So far 25 claims have been tried with total damages of $3.1 million so far.
“This procedural ruling is critical and will greatly streamline the remaining claims, leaving to be decided only the amount of damages to each home. The SWB and its team of high-priced lawyers and out-of -town expert witnesses fought us bitterly for four- and-a-half years, so this is a huge win that should remove any major delays,” Whitaker said.
In October, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal decision in favor of the first group of property owners who filed suit after pile driving and other heavy construction caused extensive structural damage to their homes.
Whitaker is optimistic that now that liability has been decided, determination of each claimant’s damages should begin promptly. “Despite our repeated efforts to settle or mediate, the SWB has refused to negotiate, causing enormous legal fees to accrue at taxpayer expense,” Whitaker said. The litigation was initially filed in May 2015.
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