Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Scuzzbuckets

A federal judge on Thursday rejected a bid to hold the federal government liable for the deaths of three elderly people during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

Without dissent, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's dismissal of wrongful death suits filed by the victims' families.

Don't you love the fact that the papers neglected to give the names of the three judges who have no fucking backbone?

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey ( a G.W. Bush appointee) ruled in April 2007 that several federal agencies and officials are immune from suits brought by survivors of Ethel Freeman, 92, John DeLuca, 76, and Clementine Eleby, 79.

Freeman and Eleby rode out the Aug. 29, 2005, storm at their New Orleans homes before seeking refuge at the city's convention center, where they died while waiting to be evacuated. Photos of Freeman's lifeless body, slumped in her wheelchair and partially covered by a poncho, were widely published after Katrina.

John J. DeLuca, 77, who rode out Katrina at an eastern New Orleans assisted-living home, died Sept. 3 after a helicopter rescue team took him from the home to Interstate 10 at the interchange with Causeway Boulevard. DeLuca languished for three days before dying, court records said.

Plaintiffs attorneys claim the government acted negligently, failing to provide "basic humanitarian aid" to people stranded in New Orleans after Katrina, and therefore isn't entitled to immunity from the suits.

But the 5th Circuit panel wrote that although "federal government has publicly admitted that it made many mistakes," its actions were covered by a general shield that protects it from lawsuits.

This court is very sympathetic to the plaintiffs for the loss of their loved ones, however, this court is prohibited from changing the laws that Congress has enacted," Judge Jay Zainey wrote last year.

Sounds like a cop out to me, Mr. Zainey

I certainly hope that no one you know has to suffer as Mr. DeLuca, Ms. Eleby and Ms. Freeman did on that horrific week in 2005. And to the spineless 5th Circuit Court of Appeals: y'all suck.

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