A trial involving claims that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was negligent in its maintenance of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet began recently in Louisiana federal court. (for a prior blog post regarding these claims, please click here). The non-jury trial, in which Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr. will preside, is expected to last approximately four weeks.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that, on the first day of trial, Judge Duval noted the importance of the case and referred to the trial as “the first real trial” regarding Hurricane Katrina, breaches of the levees and the role of the federal government; one expert witness for the plaintiffs testified in the first week of trial that the Army Corps was aware that flaws in the MRGO could prove to be disastrous; and a number of plaintiffs testified in the first week of trial about the devastation caused by Katrina-related flooding allegedly made worse by the flaws in the MRGO.