JEFFERSON, La. -- After nearly seven hours of deliberation, a Jefferson Parish jury has ruled in favor of the parish and against 40,000 home and business owners who claimed their homes flooded in Hurricane Katrina because the parish evacuated its drainage pump station workers before the storm.
In a complex, 11-part verdict, the jury ruled that the flooding in Jefferson Parish was not an act of God and that the parish was negligent in evacuating pump workers, but that the negligence did not cause the flooding, leaving the parish off the hook for liability.
They also ruled that former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and parish employees did not act in willful or reckless misconduct when implementing a so-called "Doomsday" plan that involved the evacuation of pump workers.
The now-defunct "Doomsday" plan was the focus of the three-week long class-action civil trial.
The parish has argued that the pump workers were evacuated for their own safety, and the homes would have flooded anyway because the pumps would not have been able to handle the amount of rainfall and surge in Katrina.
Plaintiff's attorneys disagree.
“If it wasn’t caused by an act of God, and they were negligent with the Doomsday Plan, what caused the flooding? And I don’t think the jury answered that. So that’s what we’re going to have to find out, and it may be that a higher court is going to have to answer that question," said attorney Darleen Jacobs.
Jacobs said she and other plaintiff's attorneys are looking into whether they’ll file an appeal.