Katrina Justice, Inc., a New Orleans not-for-profit corporation, recently petitioned for a writ of mandamus in the Civil District Court, Parish of New Orleans, State of Louisiana. The defendants in the civil action include the City of New Orleans, Mayor C. Ray Nagin, the Orleans Parish School Board and Superintendent Darryl Kilbert, as well as unidentified insurance companies. The City of New Orleans, Mayor C. Ray Nagin, the Orleans Parish School Board and Superintendent Darryl Kilbert are sued as the heads of city agencies or elected officials. The unnamed insurance companies insure the actions of the heads of the city agencies as well as properties owned and maintained by the city or its agencies.

The plaintiff asserts that the defendants have not taken the necessary steps to collect insurance money for public property damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Plaintiff seeks a writ of mandamus ordering the defendants to “perform their ministerial duties required by law and to file necessary lawsuits to protect the corpus of public properties held for the public interest and payed [paid] for with tax dollars.” Plaintiff alleges that the unnamed insurers have acted in bad faith for their refusal to pay for hurricane claims. The plaintiff claims that the period for filing claims arising out of Katrina-related damage will lapse on August 28, 2007, and for Rita-related damage will lapse on September 23, 2007.

We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates on this matter.