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Federal judge dismisses Katrina wrongful death claims

[JURIST] US District Judge Jay Zainey has dismissed part of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by families whose relatives died during Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. The son of Ethel Mayo Freeman sued the federal government, including former FEMA director Michael Brown [Wikipedia profile] and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff [official profile], for his mother's death. Wheelchair-bound Freeman died while waiting outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for help. Zainey noted that the government has publicly admitted to the many mistakes it made before and after Hurricane Katrina but it would be pure speculation to decide whether those mistakes caused these deaths.

Though most claims were dismissed by the judge, the families still intend to pursue claims left standing. AP has more. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has local coverage.

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