A federal judge in New Orleans ruled on March 20 that a civil lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brought by homeowners who suffered flood damage in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 can proceed. The suit claims the Corps is liable for levee failures along the Mississippi River to Gulf Outlet, a navigation channel. The Corps has immunity from claims arising from flood-control failures but does not have the same protection with respect to navigation infrastructure. Judge Stanwood J. Duval Jr. said “substantial questions” have been raised. Damages could reach $100 billion.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.