FOX 8 Defenders: Class-action levee breach settlement update

Letters sent in levee breach settlement

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Thousands of Katrina victims with eligible claims in a class-action levee breach settlement received letters this week from the court-appointed special master responsible for evaluating claims.

"We named everybody who we thought feasibly could be liable for the failure of the levees at 17th Street, Industrial Canal, and all of the breaks.. New Orleans East, Lower Nine, St. Bernard and the like," Joe Bruno said in an interview with the FOX 8 Defenders a year ago.

Bruno was the lead plaintiff's attorney in the class-action lawsuit alleging failures and over-topping of levees against the Corps of Engineers, contractors and levee boards after Katrina. It resulted in a settlement in the Vodanovich vs. Boh Brothers lawsuit.

The insurance companies for three levee boards - the Orleans Levee District, East Jefferson Levee District and Lake Borgne Levee District - will pay to settle the class-action suit. Bruno says there's roughly $11 million waiting to go out to storm victims.

According to Bruno, 137,000 claim forms were filed, but that number has been whittled down to 120,000 claimants after the court-appointed special master obtained experts to verify claims with issues.

Letters to the eligible 120,000 homeowners were mailed this week, detailing minimum awards. Bruno says actual payments range from as little as $2.50 to as much as $3,700, but money won't be disbursed until after an objection period. Claimants have until March 29 to object their assessments. Bruno says it's unclear when checks will be mailed until the court-appointed special master knows how many objections he has to review.

For more information, go to

The FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women also field consumer complaints at 1-877-670-6397 or you can fill out an online complaint form.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.