Claiming that oil and gas companies caused major damage to sections of the coast that previously provided protection against storm surges, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East filed a lawsuit in July 2013. The defendants are 97 different companies. Recent reports suggest that the defendants are attempting to kill the lawsuit by citing a new state law.
Act 544 is apparently being cited by the companies in an attempt to have the claim dropped. However, the levee board has asked a federal judge to make a ruling on the act, suggesting that it is unconstitutional. Before the bill passed, there were concerns that it could limit the ability of local governments to file for claims against BP pertaining to the oil rig accident it was involved with in 2010. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the bill into law, but the levee board claims that the law was written sloppily.
In addition to the claims of unconstitutionality, the filing, which was submitted on Aug. 5, offered two additional reasons why the act could not be used to defend the companies and invalidate the continuing 2013 lawsuit. It is asserted that even though there was specific intent to kill the case with the law, it does not apply to the levee board because the group should not be categorized as a local governmental entity. It is also suggested that the act does not bar claims against the companies.
Those who are negatively affected by the actions of large companies might be able to file lawsuits seeking compensation for damages. It might be beneficial for an allegedly injured party to seek the advice of an attorney who could review the client’s case and determine a plausible course of action.
Source: WWLTV, “Levee board asks federal judge to rule Act 544 unconstitutional”, David Hammer, August 05, 2014