"Carriers with the U.S. Postal Service this week were delivering a last bit of expected bad news from the Army Corps of Engineers to 565,000 individuals and businesses who filed claims for trillions of dollars of damages caused by failures of New Orleans area levee systems during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
'The claim is denied,' reads the one-page letter signed by Earl H. Stockdale, chief counsel for the corps. 'The United States is immune from personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death claims resulting from the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty.
'Decisions concerning the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the levees, floodwalls, and navigation channels involved the exercise or performance of a discretionary function or duty,' the letter said. 'The United States is also immune from damages from floodwaters.'"