September 11, 2005

Insurance, Litigation and Government Funds

by PG

Unsurprisingly, civil rights groups and others are suggesting that the federal government set up a fund to compensate the victims of Hurricane Katrina for their losses, much as 9/11 victims' families were compensated. But as often happens in discussions of the 9/11 fund, the government's reason for setting it up is ignored. The motive was somewhat altruistic, but not so much as a gesture of charity to the 9/11families as one to the airline industry, Port Authority and others who would have been hard hit by litigation. Every participant in the 9/11 fund had to agree not to sue those other bodies.

In contrast, the people affected by Hurricane Katrina don't seem to have a likely target for a tort. Perhaps they could sue the entity responsible for maintaining the levees, but to my knowledge, that would be the government itself. My understanding is that suing the federal government for large-scale policy actions like cutting the budget for levees is extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially in the absence of a Federal Tort Claims Act individual to blame -- this was an instance of the government acting as governments do, not of a person acting tortiously as a government agent. However, the Katrina victims would have slightly better standing to claim real injury than taxpayer/ constituent type plaintiffs. Taxpayer standing suffices for suits against the states, but they in turn have sovereign immunity, and the affected Gulf Coast states hardly could afford to waive it right now.

September 11, 2005 03:17 PM | TrackBack

Even if sovereign immunity were waived or some method of standing were achieved, don't decisions made by governments on matters of appropriation qualify as non-justiciable political questions? Though I suppose if LA were to waive immunity, the Governor and the Mayor could be sued for negligence in the evacuation process?

Posted by: Christopher Stroup at September 13, 2005 12:06 PM

Those who stayed in the city and those who owned property there should be barred by their assumption of the risk. The potential for such a disaster was well known, and property owners had plenty of notice that such an event could occur. There were more than adequate warnings. The government is not, or at least should not be, an insuring entity.

Posted by: nate at September 16, 2005 05:58 PM

A man is trying a very unusual way to propose to his girlfriend. He wants people to forward an email to as many people as possible and he hopes that it will eventually get to his girlfriend. Details here:

Here is what he wants people to send by email:

You could help me a lot to spread my proposal to Mary – it is important that it is distributed as widely as possible so that it eventually reaches Mary. If you would like to support my proposal to Mary, please send the following text by email to a lot of people :-)

------------- SNIP (email text end) ---------------


For a long time I have tried to find a special way to propose marriage to my girlfriend Mary, whom I know for five years now. I wanted it very special, romantic and memorable, something our grandchildren would still remember.

And here is my idea: I will send out the proposal to Mary to 50 complete strangers, people I don't know - hoping, that they will forward my proposal to as many people as possible, which in turn forward it etc. And some day, I hope, it will reach Mary, after it has travelled a very long way. I know, it will take a long time and I am quite nervous…

From the poem MY Mary will know immediately that the proposal is for her.

I have created a homepage ( ) where you can find the current status of my quest. You can use the homepage to check if the proposal has already reached Mary (in that case it is not necessary anymore to forward the mail).

Once the proposal has reached Mary, I will put a note on these pages. Also I will publish there how many people have read the proposal so that everybody can see how far it has spread and that it is getting closer to Mary.

And of course you will find there what I am waiting for most: Mary's answer! I can't tell you, how nervous I am… Will she accept my proposal? Will she like the unusual way how she got it, through the hands of thousands of messengers all over the world?

Please cross your fingers for me! And please - help me by sending the mail to as many people as possible, to help it spread, so that it eventually reaches Mary.

And here is my proposal:

Mary, please forgive me, as you know English is not my native language. And I am not a poet. But I mean it from my heart.

My angel,

Five years ago, I will always remember the day When fate made us meet, blissful Alaskan moments in May Earth spun around us and a journey began Love, warmth, happiness, enough the years to span.

The longer it lasts the more grows our bond And with 80 still - of you I will be fond Whatever happens, I will stay at your side Through good and bad, together let us stride

No second with you was ever wasted
You are the sweetest I have ever tasted
We have spent so many years - why not a life?
Mary, will you marry me - and become my wife?

Mary, if you have received that and have recognized me, then give me a sign so that I can continue with the romantic part of my proposal…

------------- SNIP (email text end) ---------------

Posted by: HooseCakCes at October 19, 2007 09:34 PM
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