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Pumps put in place by the Army Corps of Engineers siphon water from New Orleans’ 17th Street Canal into Lake Pontchartra in New Orleans. One of the levees along the canal failed during Katrina, contributing heavily to the flooding of the city. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

A federal appeals court has reversed itself, throwing out a judge’s landmark ruling that the Army Corps of Engineers was liable for billions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina flood damage that property owners blame on the corps’ maintenance of a shipping channel.

Following the August 2005 hurricane, more than 400 property owners had filed lawsuits, many of which were directed at the Corps of Engineers. The plaintiffs had alleged that the Corps of Engineers delayed armoring the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel. This failure to respond appropriately, they argued, attributed to the considerable ensuing flood damage to their homes. 

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