Clueless Katrina Comments
Archive for the '9th Ward' Category
Opinion issued 18 July 2007
Ingram is the largest…barge fleet in the United States. Testimony of David Sehrt. – page 13
Also, Ingram’s Senior Vice President Chief Operations Officer, David Sehrt (“Sehrt”), testified that Ingram did not have a written hurricane plan and that he knew about the allegedly applicable USCG and statutory rules and regulations.
See Levees Lawsuits excerpted below
Barge that Katrina heaved is trials focus – this link no longer operating
Residents blame Nashville company for destroyed homes
NEW ORLEANS — An eye-popping symbol of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive fury in New Orleans — a barge that landed on several homes in the city’s Lower 9th Ward — is at the center of a trial that started Monday in federal court.
The empty barge, nearly 200 feet long and weighing 705 gross tons, broke free of its moorings during the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane and wound up on the other side of a levee breach on the east side of the Industrial Canal.
The barge’s rusted wreckage is gone, but a thorny legal dispute lingers: Was it an act of God or corporate negligence that sent the barge crashing into the neighborhood?
Lawyers for a group of Lower 9th Ward residents blame the barge’s owner, Ingram Barge Co. of Nashville, for the destruction. The company, meanwhile, is seeking to limit its liability for any damage that its barge may have caused.
Case divided into phases
U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan, who is presiding over the barge litigation, has divided the case into phases. A trial started Monday for the first phase, which focuses on a narrow legal question: Did Ingram’s management have any “knowledge or privity” of alleged acts of negligence that could have caused damage from the barge?
David Sehrt, senior vice president and chief operations office for Ingram, testified Monday that the company wasn’t responsible for properly mooring the barge.
“If barges are in the care of customers, it is their responsibility to make sure they are safely moored,” he said.
Barge had been unloaded
In this case, Zito Fleeting delivered the barge to a marine terminal in New Orleans operated by Lafarge North America. Lafarge workers finished unloading cement from the barge early on Aug. 27, 2005 — two days before Katrina hit — and then moored it against a dock next to another barge.
Edward Busch, who was Lafarge’s assistant terminal manager, said he left a message with Zito that the barge was ready to be picked up.
“That was it,” he said. “Business as usual.”
Busch also called a towing company and asked for the barge to be shifted so that it was in a safer position on the dock. However, Busch said he couldn’t ask for the barge to be moved out of the terminal.
Busch said a man, later identified as an Ingram employee, visited the terminal before Katrina hit to inspect the company’s barges.
“I do not know what he did,” Busch recalled.
A key issue in the case is whether the barge is to blame for the levee breach or whether it floated through an existing gap. Ingram attorney Don Haycraft said several teams of experts have concluded that the barge wasn’t responsible for the levee failure.
Ingram argues its liability shouldn’t exceed its stake in the barge after it ran aground, estimated at about $17,000.
“This is similar to the White Star Line trying to limit its value to the lifeboats after the Titanic sank,” said Brian Gilbert, a lawyer for 3,000 residents affected by the breach.