Orleans Parish Judge Gives Final OK to $8,000,000 Landfill Settlement

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After years of litigation and negotiations, attorneys with Waltzer Wiygul & Garside today announced that the $8,000,000 settlement of a class action lawsuit over ownership of property under the Gentilly Landfill in New Orleans East has been approved by Judge Sidney Cates IV.

Joel Waltzer of Waltzer Wiygul and Garside, the firm that filed the suit and was appointed to represent the class, stated: “We are very happy with the final approval, and we urge all the affected property owners to make their claims as soon as possible.”

An Orleans Parish district judge has approved an $8,000,000 settlement of a class action lawsuit over ownership of property under the Gentilly Landfill in New Orleans East. Judge Sidney Cates IV signed an order, which will allow landowners to be compensated for property, which was taken for emergency dumping following Hurricane Katrina.

The City and its private contractors opened the Gentilly Landfill after Hurricane Katrina and used the area to dispose of millions of tons of hurricane debris while collecting millions of dollars from federal agencies and others. The City claimed to own the property under the landfill, but public records showed that most of the landfill was on property owned by private landowners. A group of land owners filed a class action lawsuit asking to be compensated for the illegal use of their land.

The $8,000,000 fund, which includes attorneys’ fees and costs, will pay the owners of property under the landfill approximately $1 per square foot for their property. As part of the settlement, on payment, the City will receive a deed formalizing the transfer of the land and any rights owned. The City of New Orleans and the landfill operator, AMID Metro, will also indemnify the prior owners against environmental liabilities. The settlement amount represents a premium price for the land in the area.

The judge’s order finds that the evidence shows that the settlement is fair for the landowners, and has a fair process to allow landowners to make their claims. Eligible property owners will need to submit documentation showing their ownership, and all claims must be filed within 150 days of the day the order was signed.

Joel Waltzer of Waltzer Wiygul and Garside, the firm that filed the suit and was appointed to represent the class, stated: “We are very happy with the final approval, and we urge all the affected property owners to make their claims as soon as possible.” Claims forms and information can be obtained from Waltzer Wiygul & Garside.

The signed order granting final approval of the settlement is attached as a separate PDF. See case NO: 2007-14794, Division “C”, Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, Doretha Z. Walker et al., Individually, and on behalf of those similarly situated v. AMID/Metro Partnership, LLC et al.

Contact: Joel Waltzer; 504.340.6300 (o); 504.430.0844 (c); joel(at)waltzerlaw(dot)com

About Waltzer Wiygul & Garside Law Firm
A firm borne of idealism and the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s, Waltzer Wiygul & Garside continues a proud heritage of providing quality community based representation to traditionally under-served communities and causes. The firm represents private and public interest groups nationwide, individuals, and the communities with environmental and legal challenges. The firm’s leadership pledges to provide quality service coupled with a knowledgeable, capable staff. The firm has focused experience in environmental, small business, insurance and personal injury law and is committed to client success. At Waltzer Wiygul & Garside strives to find justice and solutions for the community and for the environment. The firm has two offices in New Orleans, including one on the West Bank and one in New Orleans East, as well as an office in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

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1000 Behrman Highway    |    Gretna, LA 70056    |    1-504-340-6300

http://www.waltzerwiygul.com

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