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Attorneys handicap coastal loss lawsuit; Budding alliance to redevelop former World Trade Center building

Land Use

A buying frenzy has struck some of the city’s historic neighborhoods as people moving into the area compete with local buyers who want to upgrade or try homeownership for the first time. The fever is being fueled by the fact that the number of houses on the Uptown and Garden District market hit a seven-year low recently.

“The oil companies, they have seen it coming for a long time and they know they are responsible for this, but they have avoided for the most part being found liable for any of this,” said Bill Goodell, a private attorney who formerly worked as an environmental attorney in the state Attorney General’s Office. …

“The outcome of the case will not be dependent solely on whether they contributed to the wetlands loss, as responsibility is not the same thing as liability,” said Mark Davis, the director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.

In terms of liability, the levee authority must prove that the companies were legally responsible for the consequences of their actions or that they failed to act when they should have done something, Davis said.

The “cementing technology director” who instructed two colleagues to destroy computer simulations that would have been evidence in the investigation of the oil spill has retained his anonymity and continues to work for the company, officials said. That, some legal experts say, undercuts whatever deterrent the case might have against future misdeeds.

Halliburton will be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge Wednesday. 

The plaintiffs in the case, Baton Rouge residents Kenneth Hall and Byron Sharper, brought the suit in October 2012, stating that city court election sections should have been redrawn after census data showed the capital city became majority black more than a decade ago.

For dozens of condemned state prisoners, a life-and-death question still hangs unanswered despite months of legal decisions, public-records requests and a leaked key state document: Does the state have the drug necessary to carry out an execution by lethal injection?

In the most recent development, a copy of the state protocol for executing prisoners appeared on NOLA.com after the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections asked a federal judge to keep the procedures secret. Even though the judge denied the request, the state still refused to release the protocol, citing safety concerns — a rationale the judge dismissed.

The New Orleans inspector general is asking state ethics officials to investigate the “indisputable conflict of interest” of an auditor who was hired to examine the 2012 finances of Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office despite being Gusman’s campaign treasurer.

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About Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and the Federal Flood he helped create the Rising Tide conference, which grew into an annual social media event dedicated to the future of New Orleans.