Class certification defeated by Burglass attorneys in two Katrina related matters involving putative class of thousands of claimants

January 26, 2011

Burglass & Tankersley attorneys defeated class certification in two consolidated cases against local Parish and several other governmental entities for significant damages related to flooding from Hurricane Katrina. Please see the press release below for further details.

Press Release

Monday January 24, 2011

Burglass & Tankersley Defeats Class Certification in Hurricane Katrina Related Cases

Burglass & Tankersley attorneys defeated class certification in two consolidated cases against local Parish and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development before ad hoc Judge John L. Peytavin in the 24th Judicial District Court of Louisiana.

The cases, Maurice De La Houssaye, et al. v. The Parish of Jefferson, et. al. consolidated with Gaye T. Bennett, et al. v. Board of Commissioners for the East Jefferson Levee District, et al., were filed in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The plaintiffs sought to certify a class of thousands of Parish property owners, business entities and residents based on numerous claims of wrongful conduct by the Parish and several other governmental entities that were alleged to have contributed to catastrophic flooding in the Parish following Hurricane Katrina.

Burglass attorneys filed a joint partial motion for summary judgment along with the DOTD arguing that the evidence was clear that any damage was due to multiple water sources and multiple causes, thus each claim required a highly individualized analysis not appropriate in class action litigation. Judge Peytavin agreed with the motion's reasoning, stating "The court finds that the plaintiffs will not be able to meet their burden of establishing the elements of commonality and typicality as required by La. CCP 591 A.; nor will they be able to establish that common questions of law or fact predominate as they have alleged under La CCP 591 B.(3)."

The Burglass team included attorneys Dennis Phayer, Chris Tankersley, Bruce Burglass and Scott Gaspard.

For more information or to request a copy of the court's opinion, please contact Dennis Phayer or Chris Tankersley, (504) 836-2220.

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