Judge hears case over Katrina floodwall failure

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A man whose New Orleans home was wrecked by a wall of water unleashed by busted floodwalls is the first witness at a trial for claims that the Army Corps of Engineers and a contractor are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in damage left in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

Alvin Livers testified Wednesday that he and his wife lost everything when flood waters inundated their home of more than 30 years in the city's Lower 9th Ward.

Plaintiffs' attorneys argue that excavation work by the corps and a contractor, Washington Group International Inc., caused the failure of floodwalls along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal.

The corps claims water from Katrina's rain and surge overtopped the floodwalls. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. will decide the case without a jury.

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