Crutchfield v. Sewerage & Water Bd., No. 15-30709 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project aimed to reduce flooding by improving draining canals, increasing capacity for pump stations, and constructing new pump stations. Its efforts at constructing a new canal in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward resulted in complaints of property damage to surrounding homes. Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to represent a class of property owners and residents who owned immovable property or resided within 1,000 feet to the north or south of the Project. The district court denied plaintiffs’ motion, concluding that they failed to satisfy the requirements of commonality under Rule 23(a) and predominance and superiority under Rule 23(b)(3). The court agreed with the district court that jurisdiction exists under the federal officer removal statute. The court concluded that this suit seeks to recover different damages caused by different acts committed by different defendants at different times over a five year period. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that individualized issues of causation and damages would predominate. The court affirmed the denial of certification and remanded to allow the district court to consider how the case of the named plaintiffs should proceed.