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View Full Version : Katrina's victims ask for huge checks


Achilles
01-10-2008, 08:31 AM
Link (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080109/ap_on_re_us/katrina_flood_lawsuits) NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering ó including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

A whopping $3,014,170,389,176,410 is the dollar figure so far sought from some of the largest claims filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane. Something tells me that they'd be willing to accept the revenues from off-shore oil drilling that takes place off the coast of Louisiana instead.

Aeroldoth
01-10-2008, 09:04 AM
Some might be willing to simply have their guns returned which were illegally seized.

Jae Onasi
01-10-2008, 09:59 AM
Or they can do the smart thing--don't live in a coastal town that's below sea level in a hurricane zone.
"Whoa, bad hurricane. Oh, my house is under water. How did that happen?"

King Dando
01-10-2008, 10:26 AM
Or they can do the smart thing--don't live in a coastal town that's below sea level in a hurricane zone.
"Whoa, bad hurricane. Oh, my house is under water. How did that happen?"

Or they could of done the smart thing, and not built a town there in the first place?

mimartin
01-10-2008, 12:01 PM
Or they can do the smart thing--don't live in a coastal town that's below sea level in a hurricane zone. There is also a thing called Windstorm Insurance and Flood Insurance. I am thinking of canceling the Flood Insurance since the Federal Government seems to pay claims to those that donít even have the coverage. Extra $296.00 in my pocket per year.

People have to live where the jobs are, but they can still protect themselves against such losses.

This reminds me of asking my parents for money when I was a kid. They would ask how much do you need and I would always say fifty. Then they would tell me to come back with a lower figure. It is time for LA & MS to come back with a lower figure.

Cygnus Q'ol
01-10-2008, 01:12 PM
The only people that should be considered are the ones who lost loved ones because of the sad and sloth-like response from FEMA and Bush.

...meaning the families of the babies and old ones who died on the road to the Superdome in blazing heat and no water for days.

How would you like to sit in the devastation that was your home and watch your mother die, then be told by the National Guard to move her body to the side of the road?

I was of the mind of complacency until I saw the very well done and quite informative documentary by Spike Lee called "When The Levy Breaks".

Guaranteed to change even the hardest of opinions.

Achilles
01-10-2008, 01:34 PM
^^^^

So those that lost their homes and their livelihoods don't deserve to be compensated for the gross negligence of the Army corp of engineers?

@Jae: considering that most of the U.S. is susceptable to some form of natural disaster or another, I find your tone rather callous.

Det. Bart Lasiter
01-10-2008, 02:04 PM
@Jae: considering that most of the U.S. is susceptable to some form of natural disaster or another, I find your tone rather callous.Just because someone loses their home mean we should all dig our country further into debt for them. They chose to live in New Orleans and shouldn't be surprised if a storm knocks their house away. tl;dr: yay for callousness

tk102
01-10-2008, 02:06 PM
So those that lost their homes and their livelihoods don't deserve to be compensated for the gross negligence of the Army corp of engineers?
$3 quadrillion sounds about right for compensation? o_O

Achilles
01-10-2008, 02:15 PM
Just because someone loses their home mean we should all dig our country further into debt for them. They chose to live in New Orleans and shouldn't be surprised if a storm knocks their house away. tl;dr: yay for callousnessIf they lost their home because of gross neglegence on the part of a government agency, then I guess the answer would have to be yes. Ask me how much I like it and I'll tell you the answer is "not much", but neglegence is neglegence and last time I checked our tort laws were still intact.

@tk: yeah, I think that on the surface that sounds pretty ridiculous too. I'll withhold final judgment until I hear more about why that amount is being sought. ;)

Balderdash
01-10-2008, 03:26 PM
Well, that $3 quadrillion claim is clearly some kind of joke if you ask me. The other $14 trillion is probably more than a little superfluous as well, but it's like the economist says: aim high and negotiate down.

Achilles
01-10-2008, 03:43 PM
Depending on the state laws, it could be punative damages. Like I said, without knowing more, I'm not ready to come down one way or the other regarding the number.

El Sitherino
01-10-2008, 04:48 PM
Ridiculous. When the man shows up in court, take his leg, it might bring him back to reality.

Corinthian
01-10-2008, 06:18 PM
Three quadrillion dollars? That's...let me do some calculations. Okay, so they're only asking for about 200 years worth of the entire U.S. GDP. That's all. Three QUADRILLION dollars? Are these guys mentally handicapped? That's enough for every person in the entire United States to receive $1,000,000. Approximately, assuming the U.S. Population is exactly 300,000,000 people. Do we even HAVE that many bills? I think maybe if we sold Alaska to Canada, sold our entire military to the EU, and began renting out California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Washington State, and Oregon, then everyone in the country joined the priesthood and sold all their possessions we MIGHT be able to pull that much money together, in about a decade.

Rev7
01-10-2008, 07:14 PM
That is a really ridiculous! Those people are out of their mind! 3 Quadrillion dollars! What about people who have had their homes destroyed by house fires? Tornado victims? Crimes? Everybody else who has had a tragedy in their life? It is not possible.

Darth333
01-10-2008, 08:10 PM
Three quadrillion dollars?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v144/Darth333/aye_aye.jpg

Those figures are totally crazy :nut:

At that price anyone is welcome to come and destroy my house! :p

There's no chance the guy will get anything close to that amount but even then, I've always been amazed by the amounts amounts claimed (and awarded) in some US lawsuits...

Web Rider
01-10-2008, 08:10 PM
Me Bizarro laugh, Haw Haw Haw.

They know they're not going to get it, but most every lawsuit goes that way. I mean some idiot lady spilled hot coffee on her lap and won millions. These people lost their homes, so following the same logic, the number is likly to be mathematically sound.

It's still outrageous.

True_Avery
01-10-2008, 09:52 PM
Does that amount of money even exist on planet Earth?

I could say "Good for them. The government reacted horribly to this disaster. Hundreds of people watched as their family and friends died around them. Maybe if we didn't have so many damn soldiers and national guard in Iraq, there could have been more done to help the recovery effort."

Or, I could say "Who cares? You live in an area that is prone to natural disasters, so it is your own damn fault for having a hurricane destroy everything. You live below sea level, next to a part of the ocean that has always had a bad hurricane problem that is getting worse as every year passes. If you want someone to file a complaint against, go yell at mother nature or, better yet, global warming."

I can't really take a full stance on either side because I think they are both right and wrong in their own ways.

If they lost their home because of gross neglegence on the part of a government agency, then I guess the answer would have to be yes. Ask me how much I like it and I'll tell you the answer is "not much", but neglegence is neglegence and last time I checked our tort laws were still intact.
Last time I checked, Katrina was the thing that destroyed their houses and familys. Regardless of human help, Katrina destroyed that place, and then destroyed it a little bit more, and finally attempted to rip it from the face of the earth and put it back under water like it used to be.

Even if we had the full national guard there to help, and full army support, I doubt it would have done much to save property. It would have probably saved many more lives, but all of those houses were long gone. Humans simply cannot compete with mother nature, or stop her ability to act as she pleases.

I can understand if these people are not getting the money they need to start a new life, but last time I checked the figures the damages to Katrina were only estimated at 125 Billion or less. I can understand fully if they were to ask for that figure to rebuild, and fully understand why they feel their government as thus far betrayed them. But the amount of money they are asking for makes them look like damn children who have no concept of money, which to me means that they should not be trusted with much at all.

They can believe that the money will make them happy. They can believe that their money will make us feel for them more. They can believe whatever delusion they want. But all they are doing is asking "We had some bad stuff happen to us. Mind if we drag all of America down with us and destroy this country so that you can be unhappy to, so then we can feel better about ourselves?"

Depending on the state laws, it could be punative damages. Like I said, without knowing more, I'm not ready to come down one way or the other regarding the number.
They will never get the amount of money they want because the entire earth's economy combined could not get them that figure. Even if they did, the world's economy would collapse. Every figure I have seen thus far has estimated Katrina damages in the hundred billions, not anywhere close to the number they want.

So what. They had something bad happen to them. It happens in life. They are better off than the people who got hit by the tsunamis. They are better off than the people currently living in Sudan. Money can help, but asking for a figure that would destroy the economy to meet their own selfish aims makes them not even worth the space they take up.

I could fully understand if they were asking for a number that would help them out, rebuild new orleans, and help people get back on their feet. America should help its people.

On the other hand, the levys broke once and the hurricanes don't seem like they want to stop. Rebuilding the death trap may not be a good use of money or manpower.

I dunno where to really stand on this, but I know that at the moment the figure they are asking for is way too high for anybody to take them seriously. Its more of a bad joke to be honest.

zelda 41
01-10-2008, 09:52 PM
ahahaha, i heard this on the news this morning. i fell out of my chair laughing XD

yeah, that IS a bit pricey

Jae Onasi
01-10-2008, 10:20 PM
^^^^
@Jae: considering that most of the U.S. is susceptable to some form of natural disaster or another, I find your tone rather callous.
I have no objections to fair compensation to right a wrong and to be used for appropriate things to help rebuild lives. I object to the sense of entitlement this seems to be, the idea that just because someone lived in New Orleans (or other affected areas) that they deserve to be handed a fistful of money. We saw the horrible abuse of the credit cards that the Red Cross handed out right after the disaster--instead of buying food, clothing or basic building necessities to rebuild their lives, people used them to buy bigscreen TVs to put in the trailers that FEMA provided for them to use while they supposedly rebuilt their lives. They knew they were living in a danger zone, just like I know I live in an area of the country that gets hit by tornadoes, as my county did just 3 days ago. You won't see me running to the gov't asking for a ton of money because the gov't couldn't protect our county from the violent force of nature over which they had no control.

The storm surge in Katrina was so high that the waves would have gone over the levy even if it had stayed intact, and even if that levy had been built to its very best, I don't think it would have survived the extreme water and wind forces that hit it.

If there are people who truly deserve some kind of compensation, then I'm for that, as long as it's used for appropriate things like rebuilding their homes and lives. What this looks to me to be, however, is a bunch of money-grubbing opportunists looking for any way to milk the disaster for whatever they can get, and that's what I find objectionable.

Aash Li
01-10-2008, 11:35 PM
I have just one response to these ...people...

LOL good luck with that!

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 12:49 AM
I gotta say, that's the biggest figure I've ever seen with a dollar sign that wasn't in jest.

Achilles
01-11-2008, 04:22 AM
That is a really ridiculous! Those people are out of their mind! 3 Quadrillion dollars! What about people who have had their homes destroyed by house fires? Tornado victims? Crimes? Everybody else who has had a tragedy in their life? It is not possible.If it were a simple matter of homes being destroyed via a natural disaster, I would agree with you totally. However as I have pointed out repeatedly, there is evidence that the army corps of engineers is guilty of negligence with regards to the construction of the levees which broke during the storm and led to widespread loss of life and property. There is a long standing practice of suing negligent parties when defects in their product lead to loss of life, so it isn't as though this is the first time it's ever happened.

With regards to your point specifically, I don't know how many cases of fire, tornado, crime, or tragedy in general can be tied directly to gov't negligence, so I don't know how applicable your example is. I hope that helps.

Last time I checked, Katrina was the thing that destroyed their houses and familys.Please see above re: negligence. You probably wouldn't sue a car company if you got into an accident but you might if the air bag didn't deploy and the seat belts failed resulting in the death of all your passengers.

I can understand if these people are not getting the money they need to start a new life, but last time I checked the figures the damages to Katrina were only estimated at 125 Billion or less. I can understand fully if they were to ask for that figure to rebuild, and fully understand why they feel their government as thus far betrayed them. But the amount of money they are asking for makes them look like damn children who have no concept of money, which to me means that they should not be trusted with much at all. In tort cases, the plaintiff generally seeks two kinds of compensation: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are sought to repay for things that were lost, time that was wasted, hardship that was incurred, etc. Punitive damages are sought to "make an example" out of the company or to otherwise make such lawsuits non cost effective for the company (i.e. it cost less to get sued than fix the problem, therefore we'll just get sued, etc). So it is entirely possible that someone filed a suit requesting $125 billion (to use your number) in compensatory damages and $3 quadrillion dollars in punitive damages. It may be that some whacko filed a suit for $3 quadrillion in compensatory damage. If it's the latter then I'm with you guys. If it's the former, then it sounds much more reasonable to me.

They can believe that the money will make them happy. They can believe that their money will make us feel for them more. They can believe whatever delusion they want. But all they are doing is asking "We had some bad stuff happen to us. Mind if we drag all of America down with us and destroy this country so that you can be unhappy to, so then we can feel better about ourselves?" See above re: punitive damages. More info for those that want it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damages#Punitive_damages_.28non-compensatory.29)

They will never get the amount of money they want because the entire earth's economy combined could not get them that figure. Even if they did, the world's economy would collapse. Every figure I have seen thus far has estimated Katrina damages in the hundred billions, not anywhere close to the number they want.If the request is for compensatory damages, then the case might be thrown out. If the request is for punitive damages, then the case could move forward but damages awarded might be less than those requested.

So what. They had something bad happen to them. It happens in life. They are better off than the people who got hit by the tsunamis. They are better off than the people currently living in Sudan. Money can help, but asking for a figure that would destroy the economy to meet their own selfish aims makes them not even worth the space they take up. I think you might be jumping to conclusions without all the info that you need to make an informed opinion.

On the other hand, the levys broke once and the hurricanes don't seem like they want to stop. Rebuilding the death trap may not be a good use of money or manpower. Indeed. If that's the case, then I think we should all be up in arms regarding the money that's currently being "thrown away" on rebuilding efforts. Keep in mind though that New Orleans is a vital international trade port and a source of domestic oil. If we don't rebuild, that will have a pretty significant impact on our economy too.

I have no objections to fair compensation to right a wrong and to be used for appropriate things to help rebuild lives. I object to the sense of entitlement this seems to be, the idea that just because someone lived in New Orleans (or other affected areas) that they deserve to be handed a fistful of money.See multiple references to negligence.

We saw the horrible abuse of the credit cards that the Red Cross handed out right after the disaster--instead of buying food, clothing or basic building necessities to rebuild their lives, people used them to buy bigscreen TVs to put in the trailers that FEMA provided for them to use while they supposedly rebuilt their lives.It's true that this did happen in some cases. However none of this would have any bearing whatsoever in a criminal negligence case.

They knew they were living in a danger zone, just like I know I live in an area of the country that gets hit by tornadoes, as my county did just 3 days ago. You won't see me running to the gov't asking for a ton of money because the gov't couldn't protect our county from the violent force of nature over which they had no control. Again, not a very applicable example but lets try another one. Perhaps the gov't installed an early warning system and told you that you would have a five minute warning for all tornadoes from that day on. Then some time later, a tornado strikes, the early warning system fails, and everyone you know is killed and your home destroyed. Later on you find out that the early warning system failed due to a design flaw that the government knew about but did not believe would be an issue. Do you just accept what is for what is or do you sue the gov't for knowingly putting your life, and the lives of everyone in your area, in danger? See the difference now?

The storm surge in Katrina was so high that the waves would have gone over the levy even if it had stayed intact, and even if that levy had been built to its very best, I don't think it would have survived the extreme water and wind forces that hit it. Source please? If at all possible, could your source also show how the amount of water that would have gone over the top of the levees would have been comparable to the amount of water that passed through the breach? Thanks in advance.

If there are people who truly deserve some kind of compensation, then I'm for that, as long as it's used for appropriate things like rebuilding their homes and lives. What this looks to me to be, however, is a bunch of money-grubbing opportunists looking for any way to milk the disaster for whatever they can get, and that's what I find objectionable.Please see the above re: punitive damages.

Thanks for reading.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 10:39 AM
Achilles, with 3 quadrillion dollars, we could just purchase Canada, Mexico, and South America outright. Not with payments, outright. I mean, they might object, but money is a most persuasive speaker. These people are so stupid, they don't even deserve to GET punitive damages, and they ought to lose their share of the compensation, too.

Rogue Nine
01-11-2008, 11:32 AM
In tort cases, the plaintiff generally seeks two kinds of compensation: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are sought to repay for things that were lost, time that was wasted, hardship that was incurred, etc. Punitive damages are sought to "make an example" out of the company or to otherwise make such lawsuits non cost effective for the company (i.e. it cost less to get sued than fix the problem, therefore we'll just get sued, etc). So it is entirely possible that someone filed a suit requesting $125 billion (to use your number) in compensatory damages and $3 quadrillion dollars in punitive damages. It may be that some whacko filed a suit for $3 quadrillion in compensatory damage. If it's the latter then I'm with you guys. If it's the former, then it sounds much more reasonable to me.
You think 3 quadrillion dollars is a reasonable amount to seek for punitive damages?

If the request is for compensatory damages, then the case might be thrown out. If the request is for punitive damages, then the case could move forward but damages awarded might be less than those requested.
I should hope that it's far less than those requested.

I think you might be jumping to conclusions without all the info that you need to make an informed opinion.
In cases like this, I don't think most people would need full disclosure of all the facts before coming to an 'informed opinion'. Good old common sense would suffice.

Source please? If at all possible, could your source also show how the amount of water that would have gone over the top of the levees would have been comparable to the amount of water that passed through the breach? Thanks in advance.
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/11/02_levee_testimony.shtml

Please see the above re: punitive damages.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the amount of punitive damages is reasonable considering the circumstances. While it may be the case that some entities may have a case for large sums of punitive damages, I do not believe any court or jury anywhere will even seriously entertain the idea of handing out a sixteen-digit amount.

Aash Li
01-11-2008, 12:05 PM
I would just like to point out that the federal government is not responsible for levies and bridges and roads and the like.

Its the state.

mimartin
01-11-2008, 12:20 PM
I would just like to point out that the federal government is not responsible for levies and bridges and roads and the like.

Its the state.
Are you sure about levies? I believe it is the reasonability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. At least they took responsibility for the failure of the levies. I do know if the waterways around the levies are navigable then nobody can work on them without the U.S. Army corps of Engineers supervision. Which I do believe the waters surrounding New Orleans are navigable.
CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/01/national/main1675244.shtml)

Now if we are talking about cost to put up and maintain that is an entirely different matter. Iím just taking about design and supervision.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineer-Mission-Water Resources (http://www.usace.army.mil/missions/water.html)

Achilles
01-11-2008, 12:33 PM
You think 3 quadrillion dollars is a reasonable amount to seek for punitive damages? I would need to hear the rationale before passing judgment. At this point, we can't even state definitively that this is a request for punitive damages. It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that no matter the explanation, there is raw emotion involved at some point.

I should hope that it's far less than those requested. *shrugs* better hope the judge isn't sympathetic or the case against the gov't is weak.

In cases like this, I don't think most people would need full disclosure of all the facts before coming to an 'informed opinion'. Good old common sense would suffice. What are "cases like this"? I'm afraid I don't know what that means. Also, love the idea that people can make informed opinions without the facts. Hooray critical thinking.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/11/02_levee_testimony.shtml Thanks for the link.

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the amount of punitive damages is reasonable considering the circumstances. Yep. Sure is.

While it may be the case that some entities may have a case for large sums of punitive damages, I do not believe any court or jury anywhere will even seriously entertain the idea of handing out a sixteen-digit amount.And perhaps you are correct.

Thanks for your post.

El Sitherino
01-11-2008, 12:40 PM
Wah, my house got filled with water.

Gimme all the money in the worlds.

tk102
01-11-2008, 12:42 PM
What are "cases like this"? I'm afraid I don't know what that means. Also, love the idea that people can make informed opinions without the facts. Hooray critical thinking.Dude, nothing is worth $3,000,000,000,000 and you know it. "cases like this" = someone making an outrageous claim to get attention. I'm quite taken aback by how much credence you're giving it. There was a reason I put this in Ahto to begin with -- it's laughable.

Achilles
01-11-2008, 12:52 PM
Dude, nothing is worth $3,000,000,000,000 and you know it. If you're happy drawing that conclusion without having all the information, then all the best.

"cases like this" = someone making an outrageous claim to get attention. Yes, clearly, especially since we don't know who it is :dozey:

I'm quite taken aback by how much credence you're giving it. Really? How much credence is that? Seems every post I've written simply points out that we don't know why the amount was sought and should refrain from passing judgement until we do. Does that = "endorsement" in your world? Does any part of that strike you as inconsistent with any argument I've ever made about anything?

There was a reason I put this in Ahto to begin with -- it's laughable.Feel free to put it where ever you'd like.

Rogue Nine
01-11-2008, 12:55 PM
I would need to hear the rationale before passing judgment. At this point, we can't even state definitively that this is a request for punitive damages. It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that no matter the explanation, there is raw emotion involved at some point.
Aaaand that emotion is greed.

*shrugs* better hope the judge isn't sympathetic or the case against the gov't is weak.
I'm sure that everyone has all the sympathy in the world for the victims of Hurrican Katrina. However, I don't think even an overly-sympathetic judge would be willing to dole out such a ludicrous sum.

What are "cases like this"? I'm afraid I don't know what that means. Also, love the idea that people can make informed opinions without the facts. Hooray critical thinking.
What tk said.

And perhaps you are correct.
I'd be willing to bet 3 quadrillion dollars on it.

Achilles
01-11-2008, 12:58 PM
Aaaand that emotion is greed. Or anger. You're welcome to jump to whatever conclusion you'd like though.

I'm sure that everyone has all the sympathy in the world for the victims of Hurrican Katrina. However, I don't think even an overly-sympathetic judge would be willing to dole out such a ludicrous sum. Then you have absolutely nothing to worry about then, do you? Are we done here?

What tk said. And what I said to him.

I'd be willing to bet 3 quadrillion dollars on it.And you'd probably be right.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 01:09 PM
Achilles, you seem to have no concept of how much money they're demanding, despite how many times we say it. A $1,000,000,000 is a hell of a lot of money. They're asking for THREE MILLION TIMES THAT. You realize with this kind of money, we could end world hunger, cure almost every disease, find a cure for AIDS, Cancer, and the Avian Flu, stabilize the Middle-East, make Israel and Palestinians agree, and still have enough money left over to make Hell freeze over?

tk102
01-11-2008, 01:10 PM
Yes, clearly, especially since we don't know who it isFor the amount claimed, it makes absolutely no difference who is making the claim. There is nobody who can pay it and there is nothing that is worth that much -- hence the only value is in making the claim for attention's sake. I don't see another rational conclusion that can be drawn.

Seems every post I've written simply points out that we don't know why the amount was sought and should refrain from passing judgement until we do.
Two different things here about judgment.

We can certainly pass judgment on the amount sought. And I hope you do pass judgment on that without having to resort to a calculator and damage receipts.

As for the "why" behind which it was sought, it seems obvious to me that it was to get attention for something. Maybe that something *is* important. Is that perhaps what you're getting at? That maybe this person does have a claim that deserves the attention and that the ends justify means? I haven't passed judgment on that out of hand. So if that was your meaning, I'd agree.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 01:18 PM
Suing for say, 150 billion wouldn't be unreasonable. Suing for this much is little more than stupidity and greed, and maybe with a little bit of an attention demand, the kind you tend to get from five year olds.

tk102
01-11-2008, 01:26 PM
Suing for say, 150 billion wouldn't be unreasonable. Umm, yeah it would. $250,000 is more on par.

As for attention demand, well it's been working on us. I wonder what the world record is for biggest claim? Maybe that was an incentive too. :p

Achilles
01-11-2008, 01:29 PM
Achilles, you seem to have no concept of how much money they're demanding, despite how many times we say it. A $1,000,000,000 is a hell of a lot of money. Oh, I grasp the concept just fine. You seem to think that the dollar amount actually matters even though you have no context for why the amount is being sought. Perhaps the person filing the claim hopes to permanently bankrupt the federal government and use the proceeds to finance his/her own. I hope he/she is a benevolent ruler.

They're asking for THREE MILLION TIMES THAT. You realize with this kind of money, we could end world hunger, cure almost every disease, find a cure for AIDS, Cancer, and the Avian Flu, stabilize the Middle-East, make Israel and Palestinians agree, and still have enough money left over to make Hell freeze over?Perhaps that what's the plaintiff hopes to do with the awarded sum.

For the amount claimed, it makes absolutely no difference who is making the claim. There is nobody who can pay it and there is nothing that is worth that much -- hence the only value is in making the claim for attention's sake. I don't see another ration conclusion that can be drawn. Do you mean personal attention? If so, then the "who" is absolutely essential because since "who" has not come forward, then we the "attention" explanation doesn't make much sense.

Two different things here about judgment.

We can certainly pass judgment on the amount sought. And I hope you do pass judgment on that without having to resort to a calculator and damage receipts. And why is that?

PS: damage receipts would only be applicable for compensatory damages.

As for the "why" behind which it was sought, it seems obvious to me that it was to get attention for something. And you may be right. I don't have enough information to share your conviction.

May that something *is* important. Is that perhaps what you're getting at? That maybe this person does have a claim that deserves the attention and that the ends justify means? Yes, maybe the person does and maybe the person doesn't. Without more information I can't really know either way and frankly, neither can you.

I haven't passed judgment on that out of hand. So if that was your meaning, I'd agree.Glad to hear it.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 01:56 PM
Uh, the Federal Government is never going to award them even a thousandth of this much. They're not going to bankrupt the Federal Government, as they've got no backing for their demands for this much. Punitive damages? You've got to be kidding me. The $125 Billion in compensation, plus another 2,999,875,000,000,000? That's absolutely ridiculous. I was under the impression you actually had a decent grasp of economics. I was under the impression this was one issue that would bring everyone together - the people who filed this suit are morons.

GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD. THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY DOES NOT EXIST IN THE WORLD. If we turned every Euro, Yen, Peso, and every other form of currency in the world into $ and put it all into one gargantuan pile, we might be able to come up with 1/3 of this. Maybe.

They're not trying to buy back New Orleans. They're not even trying to buy Louisiana or the United States. They're trying to buy Earth, with the moon thrown in as part of the bargain.

The fact that they're grubbing for this much money...well, they don't deserve any now. How about they start mowing lawns instead of going for a Government Get Rich Quick Route?

tk102
01-11-2008, 02:06 PM
Do you mean personal attention? If so, then the "who" is absolutely essential because since "who" has not come forward, then we the "attention" explanation doesn't make much sense.The courts know who filed the claim so he's getting attention from them. The media reported the claim's amount, thereby drawing attention to Katrina victims. I don't know what the plaintiff wanted to draw attention to -- himself, his damages, the plight of Katrina victims, or the ineptitude of the government. I'd guess probably all of the above. We can certainly pass judgment on the amount sought.And why is that? PS: damage receipts would only be applicable for compensatory damages. Because punitive damages are set by judges or jurors who follow guidelines and precedents. Compensatory damages are objective. The amount sought plainly dwarfs the combination of the two. It really doesn't take any effort to see this, Achilles.As for the "why" behind which it was sought, it seems obvious to me that it was to get attention for something.And you may be right. I don't have enough information to share your conviction.What are the alternatives? That the plaintiff can actually back up damages for the amount sought? That the plaintiff is insane? That this was a bad typo? :rolleyes:

I don't have the willpower to suspend my conclusion that this is, on its face, a publicity stunt.

Darth333
01-11-2008, 02:54 PM
I have a hard time remaining (semi)serious when I see such a ridiculous and out of proportion claim ( I think that the guy is a greedy bastard in serious need of attention ) but here goes...

I admit I know very little about US torts law and the notion of punitive damages as it exists in the US is totally foreign to me. However, punitive damages cannot be just an arbitrary crazy sum of money granted without any regard to common sense and reasonableness and that is not subject to any guidelines and precedents... A quick search led me to this decision of the US Supreme Court, which discusses the notion of punitive damages:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=US&vol=517&invol=559

I don't know if the case is up to date or if there are more relevant and better cases as this was a quick 5 minutes search in a free database and related to a foreign legal system (I guess RN is better placed than I am to comment on this :p ). I've read it quickly and here are the more relevant points I found:

- The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a State from imposing a "`grossly excessive'" punishment on a tortfeasor. Yeah, the traditional criteria of reasonableness...Now, how could an amount that exceeds the US gross domestic product by more than 20 times not be "grossly excessive"? In any event there is no way an amount of 3 quadrillion could be technically recovered...so that alone tells a lot about the excessiveness of the amount.

- Punitive damages may properly be imposed to further a State's legitimate interests in punishing unlawful conduct and deterring its repetition. How could awarding such an amount could help deterring the repetition of similar situations as there wouldn't be any money left to do anything! (levees and dikes would crumble everywhere - even without the help of a hurricane - and you can't stop hurricanes from happening either!)

- Whether or not there are aggravating factors such as reprehensible conduct ( intentional malice, trickery, affirmative acts of misconduct vs negligence, good faith vs bad faith).

- Another factor to be taken into account is the ratio to the actual harm inflicted on the plaintiff and exemplary damages must bear a "reasonable relationship" to compensatory damages. And the court continues citing other cases: In Haslip we concluded that even though a punitive damages award of "more than 4 times the amount of compensatory damages," might be "close to the line," it did not "cross the line into the area of constitutional impropriety." but a higher ratio can also be justified: we have consistently rejected the notion that the constitutional line is marked by a simple mathematical formula, even one that compares actual and potential damages to the punitive award. Indeed, low awards of compensatory damages may properly support a higher ratio than high compensatory awards, if, for example, a particularly egregious act has resulted in only a small amount of economic damages. A higher ratio may also be justified in cases in which the injury is hard to detect or the monetary value of noneconomic harm might have been difficult to determine. It is appropriate, therefore, to reiterate our rejection of a categorical approach. Once again, "we return to what we said . . . in Haslip: `We need not, and indeed we cannot, draw a mathematical bright line between the constitutionally acceptable and the constitutionally unacceptable that would fit every case. We can say, however, that [a] general concer[n] of reasonableness . . . properly enter[s] into the constitutional calculus.'" In most cases, the ratio will be within a constitutionally acceptable range, and remittitur will not be justified on this basis. When the ratio is a breathtaking 500 to 1, however, the award must surely "raise a suspicious judicial eyebrow." I think it speaks for itself... :eyeraise:

Btw I have shown the newsbit to my work colleagues and they all had a good laugh...one of them even said "at that price not only they can flood my house but they can even drown me...I'm sure my wife will appreciate the nice estate".

Suing for say, 150 billion wouldn't be unreasonable. Suing for this much is little more than stupidity and greed, and maybe with a little bit of an attention demand, the kind you tend to get from five year olds.150 billions? :eyeraise: I guess that a 3 quadrillion lawsuit can make everyone loose their sense of proportion :p

Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get... :p

Balderdash
01-11-2008, 04:28 PM
Depending on the state laws, it could be punative damages. Like I said, without knowing more, I'm not ready to come down one way or the other regarding the number.Unless my tentative understanding of US law is awry (wouldn't be the first time) it could really be punitive damages regardless of state laws. That still doesn't mean that the figure is anywhere near remotely sane or reasonable.

Incidentally, over here, punitive damages are known as exemplary damages. In this case the term "punitive damages" could be considered something of a double entendre, due to the strain the kinds of sums being talked about would put on your economy. Allow me to illustrate why:

Punitive (adjective)

1. of or as punishment
relating to, done as, or imposed as a punishment eg. punitive air strikes.

2. creating burden
causing great difficulty or hardship eg. punitive taxation

They know they're not going to get it, but most every lawsuit goes that way. I mean some idiot lady spilled hot coffee on her lap and won millions.That "idiot lady" is a well known urban myth, and I've seen sources that have claimed that the lady in question was a pensioner who nearly died from the third degree burns she suffered from her beverage, which was 200 degrees hotter than it was supposed to be. I certainly can't speak for the infallible credibility of said sources, but it's always a good idea to regard these kinds of stories with a little skepticism.

Umm, yeah it would. $250,000 is more on par.That would tend to depend on individual cases. You can't really attribute an arbitrary figure to an unquantified hypothetical. Achilles is correct in the sense that we don't know who is claiming, or why. $3,000,000,000,000,000 is still a completely ridiculous number, though. You have to call a spade a spade when it comes to things like this.

As for the "why" behind which it was sought, it seems obvious to me that it was to get attention for something. Maybe that something *is* important. Is that perhaps what you're getting at? That maybe this person does have a claim that deserves the attention and that the ends justify means? I haven't passed judgment on that out of hand. So if that was your meaning, I'd agree.QFT.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 04:46 PM
150 billions? :eyeraise: I guess that a 3 quadrillion lawsuit can make everyone loose their sense of proportion :p

Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get... :p
Well, yes, true, but I'm assuming...hoping, that this is a class action lawsuit. Assuming this represents every person in New Orleans, $150 billion wouldn't be all that unreasonable, that's approximately the amount estimated to rebuild the city. On the other hand, it's their own dumb fault for being there in the first place...

MJ-W4
01-11-2008, 04:55 PM
every EuroSorry, you can't have them, they're still in use over here. :D

I think we should point the guys from the Guinness Book of World Records to this insane claim. Anyone headed for Dublin, by any chance? Come to think of it, insanity alone doesn't quite take the biscuit. Perhaps, 'lunacy with a vengeance' is more to the point?

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 04:59 PM
We really need a prize for stupidity that doesn't involve getting killed.

MJ-W4
01-11-2008, 05:06 PM
^ So would you agree that the outrageousness of that claim has a connotation along the line: 'OMGZ I want some attention!' ?

Achilles
01-11-2008, 07:07 PM
Uh, the Federal Government is never going to award them even a thousandth of this much. Then what are you worried about?

They're not going to bankrupt the Federal Government, as they've got no backing for their demands for this much. You assume.

Punitive damages? You've got to be kidding me. The $125 Billion in compensation, plus another 2,999,875,000,000,000? That's absolutely ridiculous. Yes, it might indeed appear that way.

I was under the impression you actually had a decent grasp of economics.I guess I don't bring economics to legal discussions. Sorry if that makes you feel let down some how.

I was under the impression this was one issue that would bring everyone together - the people who filed this suit are morons.Entirely possible, yes.

GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD. THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY DOES NOT EXIST IN THE WORLD. No, I got it even without the caps lock. If plaintiff A sues company B and is awarded more money than company B has, then company B files for bankruptcy and goes out of business. Plaintiff A may never see a dime, but perhaps all plaintiff A ever really cared about was hurting company B. So, as I have stated previously, without knowing the intent of the plaintiff, the money really doesn't matter.

If we turned every Euro, Yen, Peso, and every other form of currency in the world into $ and put it all into one gargantuan pile, we might be able to come up with 1/3 of this. Maybe.Maybe they'll accept artwork, cars, boats, furs, etc as well. Does that get us up to 2/3s?

They're not trying to buy back New Orleans. They're not even trying to buy Louisiana or the United States. They're trying to buy Earth, with the moon thrown in as part of the bargain. As I've already stated, I hope they're benevolent rulers.

The fact that they're grubbing for this much money...well, they don't deserve any now. How about they start mowing lawns instead of going for a Government Get Rich Quick Route?Well, I really think that's up to a judge/jury but you're certainly entitled to your opinion in the mean time. Take care.

The courts know who filed the claim so he's getting attention from them. So attention from one party = attention mongering? Doesn't add up, teekay.

The media reported the claim's amount, thereby drawing attention to Katrina victims.Oh, so not personal attention then? That sounds reasonable too.

I don't know what the plaintiff wanted to draw attention to -- himself, his damages, the plight of Katrina victims, or the ineptitude of the government. I'd guess probably all of the above. So you don't know who "he" (assuming it wasn't a "she") wants attention from, you just *know* that "he" wants attention? I am pleased to see that we're acknowledging that we're guessing.

Because punitive damages are set by judges or jurors who follow guidelines and precedents. Compensatory damages are objective. The amount sought plainly dwarfs the combination of the two. It really doesn't take any effort to see this, Achilles. I'm afraid I don't see how this supports your earlier statement or addresses my point. You've stated that you can pass judgment on the amount, but you don't state why. But whatever the reason is it should be obvious to me. You've indicated that it might have something to do with the amount, but again that seems pretty consistent with idea that we're dealing with punitive damages (i.e. trying to teach someone a lesson, etc). Apologies in advance if I am missing something truly obvious.

What are the alternatives? That the plaintiff can actually back up damages for the amount sought? That the plaintiff is insane? That this was a bad typo? :rolleyes: Yeah, those all sound like plausible alternatives to me. I bet we can probably think of some more too.

I don't have the willpower to suspend my conclusion that this is, on its face, a publicity stunt.The fact that you are cautious enough to add a qualifier makes this statement pretty humorous for me. It seems that deep down you are at least a little aware that there's a possibility for a reasonable explanation that you don't have access to. I guess I'm just not as ashamed to admit it as you are.

I have a hard time remaining (semi)serious when I see such a ridiculous and out of proportion claim ( I think that the guy is a greedy bastard in serious need of attention ) but here goes...

I admit I know very little about US torts law and the notion of punitive damages as it exists in the US is totally foreign to me. However, punitive damages cannot be just an arbitrary crazy sum of money granted without any regard to common sense and reasonableness and that is not subject to any guidelines and precedents... Like perhaps the relative wealth of the party being sued? Figure close to $13 trillion annual GDP...I wonder what all U.S. gov't assets are worth...hmmm.

I don't know if the case is up to date or if there are more relevant and better cases as this was a quick 5 minutes search in a free database and related to a foreign legal system (I guess RN is better placed than I am to comment on this :p ). I've read it quickly and here are the more relevant points I found:

- The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a State from imposing a "`grossly excessive'" punishment on a tortfeasor. Yeah, the traditional criteria of reasonableness...Now, how could an amount that exceeds the US gross domestic product by more than 20 times not be "grossly excessive"? In any event there is no way an amount of 3 quadrillion could be technically recovered...so that alone tells a lot about the excessiveness of the amount. You know this? I don't.

- Punitive damages may properly be imposed to further a State's legitimate interests in punishing unlawful conduct and deterring its repetition. How could awarding such an amount could help deterring the repetition of similar situations as there wouldn't be any money left to do anything! (levees and dikes would crumble everywhere - even without the help of a hurricane - and you can't stop hurricanes from happening either!)*pictures a map of the U.S. with an 'under new management' sign hanging off of the top somewhere*

- Whether or not there are aggravating factors such as reprehensible conduct ( intentional malice, trickery, affirmative acts of misconduct vs negligence, good faith vs bad faith). Like many claim exist re: Katrina.

- Another factor to be taken into account is the ratio to the actual harm inflicted on the plaintiff and exemplary damages must bear a "reasonable relationship" to compensatory damages. And the court continues citing other cases: In Haslip we concluded that even though a punitive damages award of "more than 4 times the amount of compensatory damages," might be "close to the line," it did not "cross the line into the area of constitutional impropriety." but a higher ratio can also be justified: we have consistently rejected the notion that the constitutional line is marked by a simple mathematical formula, even one that compares actual and potential damages to the punitive award. Indeed, low awards of compensatory damages may properly support a higher ratio than high compensatory awards, if, for example, a particularly egregious act has resulted in only a small amount of economic damages. A higher ratio may also be justified in cases in which the injury is hard to detect or the monetary value of noneconomic harm might have been difficult to determine. It is appropriate, therefore, to reiterate our rejection of a categorical approach. Once again, "we return to what we said . . . in Haslip: `We need not, and indeed we cannot, draw a mathematical bright line between the constitutionally acceptable and the constitutionally unacceptable that would fit every case. We can say, however, that [a] general concer[n] of reasonableness . . . properly enter[s] into the constitutional calculus.'" In most cases, the ratio will be within a constitutionally acceptable range, and remittitur will not be justified on this basis. When the ratio is a breathtaking 500 to 1, however, the award must surely "raise a suspicious judicial eyebrow." I think it speaks for itself... :eyeraise: Well, to teekay's point, this assumes that the plaintiff actually expects the case to make it to courtroom - it may be that he or she is simply trying for some publicity. We don't know.

Btw I have shown the newsbit to my work colleagues and they all had a good laugh...one of them even said "at that price not only they can flood my house but they can even drown me...I'm sure my wife will appreciate the nice estate". Glad the victims of Katrina were good for a laugh in your office. :)

Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get... :pI'm sure they're only seeking a modest 10% plus legal fees :D

Unless my tentative understanding of US law is awry (wouldn't be the first time) it could really be punitive damages regardless of state laws.Apologies. I only qualified that because my understanding is that the policy for punitive damages varies from state to state.

Incidentally, over here, punitive damages are known as exemplary damages. In this case the term "punitive damages" could be considered something of a double entendre, due to the strain the kinds of sums being talked about would put on your economy. Well, not unless they're specifically being used to be punitive ;)

That "idiot lady" is a well known urban myth, and I've seen sources that have claimed that the lady in question was a pensioner who nearly died from the third degree burns she suffered from her beverage, which was 200 degrees hotter than it was supposed to be. I certainly can't speak for the infallible credibility of said sources, but it's always a good idea to regard these kinds of stories with a little skepticism. Nope, Stella Liebeck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants) is real.

Balderdash
01-11-2008, 07:28 PM
I didn't mean that she was a complete fabrication, just that she's an urban myth in the sense that there is a lot of false information circulating about her. Didn't realize there was quite that much information about the case, though. It probably was a stretch calling it a myth, in hindsight. I guess it was a bigger story stateside than I realised...

Achilles
01-11-2008, 07:32 PM
Oh, my apologies then. Sorry I didn't pick up on that.

mimartin
01-11-2008, 07:49 PM
I only qualified that because my understanding is that the policy for punitive damages varies from state to state.
State law will not matter in this case. When suing the Federal Government, you must sue them in Federal Courts. My understanding of this is you must identify a specific dollar amount that you are seeking (under the standard form 95 (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/sf0095.pdf)) and you must do so under the statute of limitation, which is two years from the date you knew of the negligence. Then the Government has 6 months to investigate and offer a settlement. If after 6 months a settlement cannot be reached only then can you bring the suite forward in a United States District Court. You are not entitled to a jury trial the case will be decided by a federal judge.

Standard Form 95 is used to present claims against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act for property damage, personal injury, or death allegedly caused by a federal employee's negligence or wrongful act or omission occurring within the scope of the employee's Federal employment. These claims must be presented to the federal agency whose employee's conduct gave rise to the injury. The Form 95 need not be used to present a claim, but is a convenient format for supplying the necessary information. The Form 95 must be completed and state a claim for money damages in a sum certain amount claimed for injury to or loss of property, personal injury, or death. If a sum certain is not specified in block 12d on the Form 95 or in accompanying information, a submission cannot be considered to be a valid claim. The completed Form 95 must be presented to the appropriate federal agency within two years after the claim accrues.
The claim must be a Tort Claim otherwise you must ask the government permission before suing them. However, under the Federal Tort Claims Act (1946) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Tort_Claims_Act) the government granted an exception that allows the government to be sued in tort cases.

I had an insuredís vehicle hit by a postal truck. Avoid getting hit by the a US Postal Carrier at all cost.

Achilles
01-11-2008, 08:05 PM
Avoid getting hit by the a US Postal Carrier at all cost.These sound like words to live by. Thanks for the info. :)

tk102
01-11-2008, 08:05 PM
I'm afraid I don't see how this supports your earlier statement or addresses my point. I'm confused too. I lost track of what your point is. The steady drumbeat of skepticism drowned it out I think. Unless that was your point, to give a lesson in skepticism, in that case I hear ya loud and clear.

Maybe you could state your point explicitly for those just tuning in and those of us who missed seeing it in post #1. :)

You've stated that you can pass judgment on the amount, but you don't state why....you've indicated that it might have something to do with the amount,You think that might be it? :Dbut again that seems pretty consistent with idea that we're dealing with punitive damages (i.e. trying to teach someone a lesson, etc). Apologies in advance if I am missing something truly obvious.Tell me Achilles, at what point do you judge $3q as being ludicrous/non-ludicrous? For judges it seems (at least regarding D3's quote) that even a punitive to compensatory ratio of "500 to 1" is breathtaking.

Yeah, those all sound like plausible alternatives to me.I think you're alone on that one. :)

The fact that you are cautious enough to add a qualifier makes this statement pretty humorous for me. It seems that deep down you are at least a little aware that there's a possibility for a reasonable explanation that you don't have access to. I guess I'm just not as ashamed to admit it as you are.
What I am aware of is that "attention" may not be the ultimate goal of the plaintiff. But I have judged that the amount claimed is for getting attention. That is why I qualified the statement. It is a publicity stunt in its own right. Questioning whether that is all that it is is as much skepticism as I will grant.

Darth333
01-11-2008, 08:26 PM
Glad the victims of Katrina were good for a laugh in your office. :)

No, not at the victims but at the indecency of that 3 quadrillion claim made by someone trying to take advantage of a tragic event.

Achilles
01-11-2008, 08:31 PM
I'm confused too. I lost track of what your point is. The steady drumbeat of skepticism drowned it out I think. Unless that was your point, to give a lesson in skepticism, in that case I hear ya loud and clear. No, I think it just kinda turned into one along the way. I think I anticipated a few people jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions but there were others that I think I thought better of.

Maybe you could state your point explicitly for those just tuning in and those of us who missed seeing it in post #1. :) My point was sharing a current news item. I spiced it up a little by planting a seed about the federal gov't denying the state gov't access to oil revenues for oil pumped off their coast.

You think that might be it? :D Think *what* might be it?

Tell me Achilles, at what point do you judge $3q as being ludicrous/non-ludicrous?Ludicrous/non-ludicrous in relation to what? If the person filing the suit is trying to bankrupt the federal gov't and the federal gov't has more than $3q in cash and assets (I wonder how much a ICBM goes for on ebay), then I would say that $3q is clearly ludicrous...because they didn't ask for enough.

For judges it seems at least regarding D3's quote, that even a punitive to compensatory ratio of "500 to 1" is breathtaking. Hats off to the author for great use of adjectives.

I think you're alone on that one. :) Really? Because you made them up, so clearly they were plausible enough for you when you posted them.

What I am aware of is that "attention" may not be the ultimate goal of the plaintiff.Okay, so definitively stating that it is without knowing would be wrong? No need to answer. The question was largely rhetorical.

But I have judged that the amount claimed is for getting attention. That is why I qualified the statement. It is a publicity stunt in its own right. Questioning whether that is all that it is is as much skepticism as I will grant.Huh? If the person seriously intends to bankrupt the gov't then you would be wrong, correct? The reality is that you don't know the intent of the plaintiff and neither do I.

No, not at the victims but at the indecency of that 3 quadrillion claim made by someone trying to take advantage of a tragic event.Yes, assuming that's the case, that would be very indecent indeed.

Corinthian
01-11-2008, 08:56 PM
The thing is, they won't bankrupt the Federal Government because no Judge worth his salt is ever going to award them even a thousandth this much. I can't believe you're actually making a case where Three Quadrillion Dollars is a reasonable amount to pursue in court. Maybe if the Government destroyed the Solar System that would be a reasonable sum to pursue.

Web Rider
01-11-2008, 11:04 PM
Huh? If the person seriously intends to bankrupt the gov't then you would be wrong, correct? The reality is that you don't know the intent of the plaintiff and neither do I.

Yes, assuming that's the case, that would be very indecent indeed.

And to gain allies in such an argument, one would need publicity. So regardless of if his case is just for publicity, or for some goal(though not a realistic one in this case), he still needs to make headlines.

In any case, as Corinthian continually states, no judge would award this because such a sum would a: cause the government to create so much money that money is worthless, or b: cause the destruction of the entire country. Neither of which are equivalent to whatever this man lost. Yes, making a few, directly related individuals suffer for their mistakes, ranging from perhaps the guys in the weather service to FEMA and Bush, is a valid desire after such an event as Katrina.

Destroying the country and making 300 million+ people suffer? Eh, not a chance in heck.

Jae Onasi
01-12-2008, 12:06 AM
Source please? If at all possible, could your source also show how the amount of water that would have gone over the top of the levees would have been comparable to the amount of water that passed through the breach? Thanks in advance.

Well, I'll go ahead and do the legwork.
Wave force equations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_equation) for you. Wave velocity was 5 m/s, density is 1g/cc, wave height varied but the highest recorded was 55 feet high. Have fun with your calculator figuring out just how much force that wall of water hit the levee walls with. :)
Wiki article on 2005 levee failures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_levee_failures_in_Greater_New_Orleans) is a good place to start and has other sources cited so feel free to look those up. Note that on the Eastern side of New Orleans, the storm surge was 24-28 feet, which is 10 feet higher than the levee height in that area. There would have been flooding regardless of the other failures in the system, and there were indeed failures. Note that this is just the storm surge and does not include tidal variation or maximum wave height. NOAA reported (http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/2005/katrina/) a maximum wave height of 55 feet at a point 64 nautical miles south of Dauphin Island, AL, which was greater than any previously recorded wave height. The storm had weakened just before landfall, but wave heights were still greater than the maximum of the levee heights of 23 feet, and overtopping occurred in many places in the levee system. The high flood water mark in at least one spot was nearly 28 feet (note that wave heights were higher). There's no way that New Orleans could have avoided flooding with these parameters. The hurricane exceeded design conditions (http://hsgac.senate.gov/_files/Katrina/Preliminary_Report.pdf) for the levee system. While some of the execution of that design indeed was faulty (not placing foundations deep enough, sinking foundations in too sandy a soil, etc), we have to take into account that the levee was designed in '65 by the Corps without the benefit of computer modeling, calculators, and advanced meteorology that we have available today. We also have to take into account the fact that this was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, and the sheer power of the hurricane guaranteed destruction of a great many things in its path. While apparently 2/3 of the flooding is estimated to be due to levee breaches, that leaves another 1/3 due to sheer force of nature, and part of that 2/3 may not have been preventable because with that powerful a storm, some of the levees were going to fail no matter how well built they were.

Flooding occured due to overtopping even of intact levees. The surge was higher than levee walls, and wave heights were even higher, so even if the levees had remained intact, flooding would have occurred. The Corps of Engineers did not anticipate a storm of this magnitude due to limitations in hurricane knowledge available in '65, so some of the levee failures occurred simply because the storm was too powerful for the original levee design. There's a limit to the things we can currently build that will withstand a cat 5 hurricane.

Asking for this ridiculous amount of money for something that was at least 1/3 in part due to force of nature and not negligence, misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance is just insane.

Corinthian
01-12-2008, 01:11 AM
I vote we foot the bill off to Mother Nature. It's her fault.

Totenkopf
01-12-2008, 08:19 PM
$3 quadrillion sounds about right for compensation? o_O


Perhaps at the collapse of the Wiemar Republic, but otherwise.. :lol: That suit is about as embarrassing as the administrative judge in DC that wanted multi millions over a pair of pants. ;)

Tommycat
01-13-2008, 10:35 PM
Hmmm when an evacuation order is given, and you ignore that order, somehow you should get 3quadrillion? I have a hard time justifying that figure no matter how you look at it.

Keep in mind that the area that was hit hardest by Katrina was actually Mississipi. There are towns there that simply don't exist anymore. That's where FEMA went first. NOLA was hit by the levee breaks after the storm had passed. Honestly, if FEMA had gone to NOLA and not Mississippi, we would have heard that Bush was just trying to protect his oil buddies.

Interestingly enough I heard from a relative of mine that lives down there that at least one of the breaks was at a spot where the upgraded levee was used instead of the old dirt mound levee. Of course I'm not sure about that. But it would be interesting if it were true.

John Galt
01-14-2008, 12:30 AM
I'm going to start off by saying that I have family down there. My cousin in Gulf Port lost his house in Katrina. His big screen TV was on the lawn, and there was a yacht sticking out of his roof.

I think that the parties involved with building and maintaining the levees should be held responsible for damages incurred within flooded areas that the levees should've protected. Other than that I don't think that the government owes anyone down there a cent of taxpayer money. If they lost their house in the storm and didn't have it properly insured that's their problem, not the government's.

Web Rider
01-14-2008, 12:36 AM
Hmmm when an evacuation order is given, and you ignore that order, somehow you should get 3quadrillion? I have a hard time justifying that figure no matter how you look at it.
An evacuation order given with only enough time for people to be on the roads instead of in their homes. Better solution? Not really. Massive traffic would likly have resulted in MORE deaths. Not to mention that many of the people most affected were/are poor and didn't have a means to leave anyway. In any case, their homes were still destroyed.

Keep in mind that the area that was hit hardest by Katrina was actually Mississipi. There are towns there that simply don't exist anymore. That's where FEMA went first. NOLA was hit by the levee breaks after the storm had passed. Honestly, if FEMA had gone to NOLA and not Mississippi, we would have heard that Bush was just trying to protect his oil buddies.
New Orleans and the greater Louisiana area are also well known for their oil production.

Interestingly enough I heard from a relative of mine that lives down there that at least one of the breaks was at a spot where the upgraded levee was used instead of the old dirt mound levee. Of course I'm not sure about that. But it would be interesting if it were true.
The simple fact is, nothing, be it a concrete wall or a dirt mound, is designed to withstand that kind of force, as somebody put forth the correct equations for the math of the force of the storm-wall, it's a scary big number. It's like wondering why your house of paper didn't survive the last fire.

Tommycat
01-14-2008, 05:13 AM
An evacuation order given with only enough time for people to be on the roads instead of in their homes. Better solution? Not really. Massive traffic would likly have resulted in MORE deaths. Not to mention that many of the people most affected were/are poor and didn't have a means to leave anyway. In any case, their homes were still destroyed.
Not really true, but maybe somehow my friends and family got some kind of pre-evacuation order. The poor should have been handled by the state. A state of emergency was issued for the region. This released federal funds to help those that needed evacuation. Of course anyone who lives down in LA knows how well the state handles emergency funds... At any rate, they would have been better off in at least higher ground. You know like somewhere above sea level. Though I will agree they should have evacuated earlier. We took in a couple of the evacuees here in Phoenix, helped them get back on their feet, and they decided to stay in AZ. (Interestingly enough, it was in my house that carries flood insurance even here in the desert)

New Orleans and the greater Louisiana area are also well known for their oil production.
That was my point. If FEMA had been sent to protect NOLA, we would have heard that Bush was using FEMA to protect the interests of his oil buddies rather than helping the poor people of Mississippi who were hardest hit by the hurricane. There was no real win for FEMA and no way for Bush to be labeled as a good guy. Katrina was just another excuse for Bush's opponents to attack him. FEMA was mobilized early to get them to the areas where they would be needed and initially Mississippi was the place that needed the help the most. It was well after the storm that the levees broke. That required a second FEMA mobilization. It was theorized, but not recognized as a major threat. Sure in hind sight, it should have been, but when the levees didn't break right after the storm, we thought we dodged a bullet. Apparently it was a marking round..... Once the levees were established as an emergency, FEMA was mobilized as quickly as possible to be on site.

The simple fact is, nothing, be it a concrete wall or a dirt mound, is designed to withstand that kind of force, as somebody put forth the correct equations for the math of the force of the storm-wall, it's a scary big number. It's like wondering why your house of paper didn't survive the last fire.
Again, I think we're on the same page just reading differently and saying it back differently. Even if the levees had been completed to the new specs, the likelihood is that they still would have failed. A cat 5 hurricane is a beast. Levees could have been designed to withstand that, but not without requiring funds the state could not have provided. Levee funds were asked for in virtually every election cycle, and the people of NOLA voted them down(according to my family member living down there). Even the new structures planned were not designed for a cat 5. Virtually nothing is. Heck even the Hoover dam couldn't withstand a cat 5.

Jae Onasi
01-14-2008, 09:21 AM
An evacuation order given with only enough time for people to be on the roads instead of in their homes. Better solution? Not really. Massive traffic would likly have resulted in MORE deaths. Not to mention that many of the people most affected were/are poor and didn't have a means to leave anyway. In any case, their homes were still destroyed.
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Mayor Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans on the 28th, about 24 hours prior to landfall. Part of the delay was due to the fact that on the 26th, the storm was still forecast to hit the Florida panhandle. There were certainly problems for people getting out of the city, but a lot of people were able to evacuate safely with that much notice. In fact, a lot of people had started evacuating voluntarily prior to that when the hurricane strengthened explosively to cat 5 early on the 26th.

Cygnus Q'ol
01-15-2008, 07:35 AM
We live on a planet where natural disasters occur every day, somewhere.
There's not much we can do about that. A tornado swept past our town about a week ago. It missed my town, but a town not too far away was leveled. Some people lost everything they ever had. Quakes and storms and fires run unchecked by mankind.

I have always thought that our country was one of the best at helping and healing once something major had occurred, and I still believe we are.

There are Americans in every corner of the world helping those wrought by disaster. My pride is with them.

The deaths that are a direct result of the misfire in Washington and the communication breakdown between Feds and State are the ones I'm concerned about.

Where's the accountability?

RobQel-Droma
01-15-2008, 01:53 PM
Argh, my toilet just got plugged.

Darn it, Bath & Toilet! Where's my 5 billion dollars! Maybe if we weren't in Iraq, the National Guard could have been there to unplug it....