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Federal Katrina suits dismissed

Dozens of lawsuits seeking damages from the federal government for Hurricane Katrina-related levee failures and flooding in the New Orleans area are over.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. has dismissed the cases. The move comes more than a year after a federal appeals court overturned his ruling holding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable for flooding caused by lax maintenance of a shipping channel.

Duval has also dismissed a parallel lawsuit against a contractor. It claimed excavation work weakened flood walls in New Orleans' Industrial Canal. He entered the orders to dismiss the cases on Dec. 20.

More than 500,000 residents, businesses, and governments filed claims against the corps. But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the corps is immune from lawsuits when it made judgments in flood protection and navigation. - AP