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A March 2, 2012, decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, little noticed outside of New Orleans, has broad implications for the liability of federal agencies for injuries caused by the decay or obsolescence of infrastructure due to erosion, sea level rise, and other ongoing conditions, whether of natural or human origin. Less directly, the decision also affects the liability of state and municipal governments, and even private entities in charge of built structures.

This article describes the underlying facts, the decision, and its implications. It also considers how governments and private parties can, to a limited extent, protect themselves from this liability.


Environmental Law | Law


Sabin Center for Climate Change Law