DENHAM SPRINGS -- The preliminary phase continues in a lawsuit challenging the concrete wall along the middle of Interstate 12, the attorney for the plaintiffs told the Denham Springs City Council.
Attorneys are gathering evidence the case which claims the barrier along the expressway exacerbated flooding north of I-12 in August 2016, said Josh Palmintier, of the law firm deGravelles & Palmintier, at the council's Nov. 13 meeting.
Palminitier, representing the cities of Denham Springs and Walker, filed the lawsuit in January 2017. It lists the state of Louisiana, through the state Department of Transportation and Development -- along with 21 contractors -- as responsible for the flooding in August 2016.
The lawsuit contends the 19-mile concrete barrier -- lacking spaces to allow water to pass through it -- held back floodwaters from crossing the interstate. The floodwaters grew north of the interstate, flooding residential areas.
DOTD work on the surface of I-12 raised it from 6 to 12 inches, making it harder for water to go south, the lawsuit contended.
After the lawsuit was filed in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, the Livingston Parish Council and Livingston Parish School Board joined the class action suit.
"Basically, we're in the discovery portion of the case, building up the documents we need to prove the case," he said. "It's a usual part of litigation.
"We have a judge, we're in the discovery process and we've taken a number of depositions in reference to the injunctive part," Palminitier said.
He would not disclose the name of the judge or which district would hear the case, but said his firm's stance has not changed.
"We believe it's a faulty design and we believe it should not be continued, and remediation should occur with the wall as it exists now on I-12," Palminiter said.
Upon completion of the preliminary phase, attorneys will begin accepting depositions, a process which could begin soon, he said.
"Things should start quickening up a bit after that," Palmintier said.
Palmintier was on the agenda for the Oct. 22 City Council meeting, but a miscommunication in his office caused him to miss the meeting.