There is also a 1928 Flood Control Act that shields the Corps from the consequences of the failure of flood protection projects, even if caused by negligent and wrongful acts of federal employees. The lower court had found that the Flood Control Act exemption applied only to a limited part of the Katrina flooding, while other flood damages resulted from the operation and maintenance of the "MR-GO" or Mississippi River Gulf Outlet levee system, which concerns navigation rather than flood control. Under the new 5th Circuit ruling, the Corps is insulated from liability regardless of whether its projects concerned flood control or navigation.
I can't say I disagree with the decision, or that I have any real understanding of the various liability exemptions involved. I will say that the following is a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of the Corps's judgment:
The corps's actual reasons for the delay (in armoring the banks and levee) are varied and sometimes unknown, but there can be little dispute that the decisions here were susceptible to policy consideration.