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5th Circuit Decertifies Katrina Class Action

(CN) - The 5th Circuit blocked a group of Hurricane Katrina victims from pursuing a class action to stop the demolition of their storm-damaged housing project.

Yolanda Anderson and 15 other residents of the Big Four housing projects in New Orleans sued to stop the Housing Authority of New Orleans and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from the demolishing the buildings, which they found to be "obsolete, dilapidated, and unsuitable for housing purposes."

The residents filed a class action, claiming Fair Housing Act violations and racial discrimination.

The district court certified the class action suit to include African-American residents of the projects who received vouchers that did not assist them with their utilities.

However, Judge Garza vacated the class certification on interlocutory appeal.

"The district court abused its discretion by certifying a class based on claims that the residents never pled," Garza wrote, "because the residents' complaint lacks any allegations regarding the administration of the voucher program."

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