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Old 01-11-2008, 03:54 PM   #41
Darth333
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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-bi...=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 ). 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...

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".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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? I guess that a 3 quadrillion lawsuit can make everyone loose their sense of proportion

Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get...
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:28 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Rider
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.


...

Last edited by Balderdash; 01-11-2008 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:46 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333

150 billions? I guess that a 3 quadrillion lawsuit can make everyone loose their sense of proportion

Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get...
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...
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:55 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
every Euro
Sorry, you can't have them, they're still in use over here.

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?


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Old 01-11-2008, 05:59 PM   #45
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We really need a prize for stupidity that doesn't involve getting killed.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:06 PM   #46
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^ So would you agree that the outrageousness of that claim has a connotation along the line: 'OMGZ I want some attention!' ?


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:07 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
Uh, the Federal Government is never going to award them even a thousandth of this much.
Then what are you worried about?

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
The media reported the claim's amount, thereby drawing attention to Katrina victims.
Oh, so not personal attention then? That sounds reasonable too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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?
Yeah, those all sound like plausible alternatives to me. I bet we can probably think of some more too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
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 ). 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
- 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*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
- 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
- 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...
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
Random thought: I wonder how much the attorney would get...
I'm sure they're only seeking a modest 10% plus legal fees

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balderdash
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balderdash
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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balderdash
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 is real.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:28 PM   #48
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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...


...
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #49
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Oh, my apologies then. Sorry I didn't pick up on that.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:49 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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) 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.

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Originally Posted by Federal Tort Claims Act Staff-Civil Division-U.S. Department of Justice
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) the government granted an exception that allows the government to be sued in tort cases.

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Old 01-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by mimartin
Avoid getting hit by the a US Postal Carrier at all cost.
These sound like words to live by. Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Yeah, those all sound like plausible alternatives to me.
I think you're alone on that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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.


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Old 01-11-2008, 09:26 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:31 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
You think that might be it?
Think *what* might be it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333
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.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:56 PM   #55
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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.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:04 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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.


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Old 01-12-2008, 01:06 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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 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 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 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 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.


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Old 01-12-2008, 02:11 AM   #58
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I vote we foot the bill off to Mother Nature. It's her fault.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:19 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by tk102
$3 quadrillion sounds about right for compensation? o_O

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


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Old 01-13-2008, 11:35 PM   #60
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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.
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:30 AM   #61
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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.





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Old 01-14-2008, 01:36 AM   #62
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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


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Old 01-14-2008, 06:13 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Rider
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)

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:21 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Rider
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.
.
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.


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Old 01-15-2008, 08:35 AM   #65
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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?


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Old 01-15-2008, 02:53 PM   #66
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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....
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