In The News
An Uncertain Future
There’s a legal victory for homeowners suing S&WB over SELA drainage project:
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) – A legal win came down for hundreds of Uptown property owners who are suing the Sewerage and Water Board over the SELA drainage project. The residents say years of construction have badly damaged their homes.
275 property owners sued the S&WB over those damages. The board then sued the companies that were contracted to finish the SELA project, claiming the businesses were to blame. But attorneys representing the homeowners say a federal judge handed down a ruling Tuesday in their favor.
Biz The Magazine July 2016
It is an unwavering certainty: Time moves on. Though it is hard to conceive, one day Drew Brees will be on the sidelines and his successor will be taking the snaps as he begins to try and break Brees’ sterling records. It’s life, the way of the world. No matter how brilliant the leader, he/she will inexorably fade into the background as the young inevitably take their seats in their leather executive chairs in the corner office.
According to legal industry consultant Altman Weil, in his report Law Firms in Transition, in 2015 nearly two-thirds of the biggest law firms had partners age 60 and older who controlled at least one-quarter of the firm’s revenue. Weil’s research found that only 31 percent of such firms had a formal succession-planning process. Many experts believe that if law firms fail to implement succession strategies now they may well find themselves with a leadership gap in just a few years’ time.
Law firms today are made up of lawyers with almost 50 years of generational differences working together under one roof. As such, moving a firm from the first to the second generation, or even third generation of leadership can prove to be a difficult task.
But some local firms are moving forward with their strategies. Those such as Bruno and Bruno, a family firm that began in 1950, know the importance of carrying on their traditions of excellence. Managing partner Joseph M. Bruno says his strategy grew out of his own aging process and the passing of his father, Frank Bruno, two years ago.
INJUNCTION FILED IN UPTOWN DRAINAGE PROJECT-PRESS CONFERENCE @ 11am
UPTOWN PROPERTY OWNERS FED UP WITH DAMAGES FROM THE SELA DRAINAGE PROJECT FILE FOR INJUNCTION TO HALT CONSTRUCTION AND MITIGATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN
Lead Plaintiffs and Attorney Michael Whitaker will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. today at the corner of Prytania & Octavia Streets. (Access Octavia via St. Charles or Magazine)
December 17, 2015, New Orleans, LA – Property owners in the Uptown and Carrollton neighborhoods filed a class action lawsuit this morning against the United States Army Corps of Engineers seeking an injunction to halt the massive SELA drainage project that has irreparably damaged their homes and businesses. Class representatives filed suit in the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking to enforce a “Programmatic Agreement” (PA) which obligates the Corps to minimize and mitigate damages to historic properties caused by the project, pursuant to the National Historic Properties Act. The affected areas are part of the Uptown and Carrollton Historic Districts, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Plaintiffs seek to enforce the PA, which authorizes protections such as a stop-work provision, and development of policies to mitigate and prevent further irreparable harm to historic properties. They seek the appointment by the Court of a Special Master to oversee the Corps’ actions.
“The plaintiffs’ properties are on the verge of utter ruin because of the ongoing damage resulting from construction of the Project. Pile driving and movement of heavy equipment are causing vibrations similar to earthquakes; ground subsidence resulting from dewatering is causing the earth to sink beneath homes and businesses. Enormous machinery generating jet aircraft level noise are placed right outside of residents’ doors. Foundations are failing, and entire structures are being affected- floors are sinking, porches are collapsing, interior and exterior walls are shearing, roofs are collapsing and leaking, sewer mains are broken, doors and windows no longer operate. The dust, dirt, debris are indescribable,” said Michael Whitaker, attorney for the class. “While we understand the need to repair the City’s drainage system, it should not be done at the expense of hundreds of homes and businesses. The Corps has failed to abide by the Programmatic Agreement which requires the agency to measure, mitigate and remediate historic properties damaged by the SELA project. Because of the Corps’ neglect of its obligations, we were forced to resort to the extreme measure of asking the Court to enjoin these activities and appoint a Special Master to prevent further irreparable damage.”
According to the complaint, the public was told by the Corps and its local sponsor the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (“SWB”) on their SELA website that “We do expect some minimal inconveniences such as noise, traffic rerouting and parking limitations. In order to reduce these inconveniences we will: Limit canal construction to 2 to 4 block areas…” The Complaint alleges that these were misrepresentations – that the Corps never advised the public that it specifically anticipated property damages to result from the construction, and permitted its contractors to commence work on all of the drainage canals simultaneously, excavating at once the neutral grounds of Jefferson Avenue, Napoleon Avenue, Louisiana Avenue, and South Claiborne Avenue, leaving miles of closed streets, open and incomplete canals, and worksites littered with equipment and materials, effectively paralyzing the historic neighborhoods in these areas for years. The project is chaotic and out of control, the suit says.
The lawsuit, entitled, David Epstein, Brenda Lackings, Thomas Ryan, Elizabeth and William Sewell vs. the United States Army Corps of Engineers, is expected to be assigned to Judge Englehart as it is related to a similar case against the SWB. It is anticipated that a hearing will be set by the court in the near future.
Class Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Permanent Injunction
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order
Decade After Katrina, Pointing Finger More Firmly at Army Corps
Brand new information revealed in a Sunday New York Times story demonstrates that blame for the flooding during Katrina lies with ever more certainty with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Internationally renowned expert J. David Rogers has actually retracted statements he made that pinned partial blame on the local Orleans Levee Board for the levee failures.
Rogers, the lead author of a new science article due out in August, now says that his statements made in 2006 exonerating the Army Corps from blame “may have been both historically and logically flawed.”
According to the New York Times, Rogers now says he found nothing to suggest that the OLB behaved irresponsibly. Rogers also rebutted a notion that the Army Corps had been blindsided by back-room deals in Washington and forced to build the inferior system that failed.
Rogers reiterates that the Corps failed to notice some critical warning signs in their studies, with disastrous results. The levees were destined to fail.
You may wonder if this means that financial compensation is forthcoming now that key experts have backpedaled on damning statements they made about the OLB’s role in the flooding. Sadly no.
However, it is our hope that you take some comfort in knowing that the truth about the flooding continues to surface. The survivors deserve for everyone to know the facts instead of the fairy tale about the New Orleans Flood.
Bruno & Bruno Smartphone APP
At Bruno & Bruno we understand getting into an accident is a very scary and traumatic event. Because of the trauma of the accident very often it is hard to remember all the necessary things that you should do to protect the rights of yourself and your passengers. To help you with this process, Bruno & Bruno has released an I-Phone and Android Personal Injury app. The app will give you step by step instructions of exactly what information you should capture at the time of your accident and will allow you to take photos, audio and video of all of the important aspects of your case. The App can be found in both the I-phone and Android marketplaces or can be obtained by clicking on the links below.
Joseph Bruno and John Andry Sponsor French Oratory Contest for local high school students.
In the group picture of winning students are, from left, William Downs, Stephen Stradley, Rhinnon Rainey, Sarauniya Royal, Adam Belanouane, Royal ‘Jud’ Mitchell, Skye Bocage and Sasha Lansky. Winning students not pictured include Douglas LeClercq, Knox VanHorn and Benedict Luongo.
Advocate staff report
More than 70 students of French from 14 high schools in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes participated in the Andry/Bruno French Oratory Contest recently organized by the Council of French Societies.
A total of $2,350 in prize money was awarded.
The event took place at Ecole Bilingue, 821 Gen. Pershing St., New Orleans. A reception honoring the winners took place Nov. 19 at the home of Alexandra Stafford and Raymond Rathle Jr. in Metairie.
In the competition, students had three minutes to recite, in French, a memorized or thoroughly prepared selection of their choice. They also answered questions posed by the judges in French.
The first-year winner was Adam Belanouane, of Benjamin Franklin High School.
The winners from among those with two or three years of study were Steven Stradley, of Jesuit High School; Douglas LeClercq, Isidore Newman School; and Royal “Jud” Mitchell, Franklin.
The winners from among those with four or more years of study were Sasha Lasky, of Newman; William Downs and Knox VanHorn, Country Day; and Skye Bocage, John Ehret High School.
The winners from among those enrolled in immersion programs were Sarauniya Royal, of International High School of New Orleans; Rhiannon Rainey, Franklin; and Benedict Luongo, Newman.
Joe Bruno Speaks about the failures of the New Orleans Levees
Click here to watch Joe Bruno managing partner of Bruno & Bruno speak about the failures of the New Orleans levees in KATRINA JUSTICE-A Preventable Disaster. In this short 22 minute documentary produced by Insider Exclusive Mr. Bruno demonstrates that not only were the failure of the levee’s not natural, he establishes the failures were caused by the gross negligence of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Click here to watch Tanya Smith’s story.
On March 2, 2012, the U.S. Fifth Circuit issued a landmark decision affirming the District Court’s ruling holding the United States liable for damage caused by floodwaters from the MR-GO, and denying the United States’ appeal.
My home or business was damaged by the flooding of the MR-GO during Hurricane Katrina. What does the Robinson decision mean for me?
The answer depends on the location of your home or business. Multiple sources of water ravaged the St. Bernard, Chalmette and Lower Ninth Ward areas during Hurricane Katrina. Under this landmark decision, the United States is liable for some of the damage caused by floodwaters from the MR-GO. Other court cases address different sources of water (for example, the Armstrong case applies to floodwaters from the IHNC, which goes to trial in September 2012).
On March 15, 2011 the Louisiana Supreme Court in Sheryl Coleman Taranto et al v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Company (No. 2010-c-0105) affirmed Plaintiffs’ claims that prescription is in fact interrupted while a class action is pending.
The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth Circuit’s earlier ruling finding that the filing of a lawsuit designated as a class action pursuant to LSA-C.C.P.art. 591, suspends prescription for all members of the putative class until the district court has ruled on the motion to certify the class. When notice is given, pursuant to LSA-C.C.P.art. 596, the suspended prescription period begins to run again.
You can read a copy of the opinion here.
Tenet Healthcare Corp. and attorneys for people who stayed at Memorial Medical Center in the traumatic days after Hurricane Katrina agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit against the company on Wednesday, both sides announced.
The plaintiffs accused Tenet of neglecting to anticipate and prepare for the loss of power after the storm, as well as failing to develop and follow proper evacuation plans and take other necessary emergency-preparedness steps.
“I am very happy and everybody is happy to have it resolved. Settlements are better than trials,” said Joe Bruno, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal revived Plaintiffs’ claims against the Washington Group International, Inc. (now URS) over the company’s role in the levee breaches that flooded the New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish during Katrina.
The Federal Appeals Court reversed the District Court’s ruling dismissing claims against the Army Corps of Engineers contractor stating that the company is not entitled to hide behind the “Government Contractor Immunity” for its work. The case has now been sent back to the District Court for further proceedings.
You can read a copy of the opinion here and WWLTV news report here.