No one had ever won a case against the Army Corps, but that didn’t stop Mr. Pierce O’Donnell.
On a return visit to the Laguna Blanca campus, Ms. Elliott’s AP US Government and Politics class had the privilege of hearing Mr. O’Donnell, Attorney at Law, speak about his representation of Hurricane Katrina victims against the Army Corps of Engineers in a landmark case that challenged the supposed federal immunity in legal suits.
Hurricane Katrina is remembered for shattering the levees that protected New Orleans from potential floods, for killing thousands of people, and for causing billions of dollars in damage.
However, in Robinson v. US, Mr. O’Donnell argued that, “The drowning of Greater New Orleans and 1,300 deaths with hundreds of billions of dollars of property damage was a man-made disaster, not a natural one.”
The Honorary Stanwood J. Duval, Jr. of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. O’Donnell’s assertions and for the first time in American history, the Army Corps was denied immunity in a lawsuit
“It struck me as a horrible atrocity that the Army Corps hadn’t been reprimanded for its mistakes and that the suffering people of New Orleans hadn’t received proper payment for their hardships,” said junior Justin Palmer.
Mr. O’Donnell is currently preparing to present his case to the Supreme Court in response to an appeal from the Army Corps this October no date has yet been set.