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Adams and Reese litigation partner Chris D'Amour was interviewed by The Tennessean
about Gaylord Entertainment's strategy to hire water experts and attorneys to review the company's legal strategy in a bid to recoup what could be $225 million in repair costs to get its flood-damaged Opryland hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House back in business by mid-November. The article appeared in both The Tennessean
and on the WBIR-TV Channel 10 website in Knoxville.
It was reported yesterday that Gaylord CEO and Chairman Colin Reed said authorities sent him flawed forecasts just hours before the flood topped levees around the property and endangered hotel guests and staff in early May. About 1,500 hotel guests and employees were evacuated just hours before floodwaters entered the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center, commonly called the Opryland hotel. The hotel is slated to reopen no later than Nov. 15 and perhaps by the first of that month, Reed said. In the Grand Ole Opry House, which should reopen around Oct. 1, repairs could cost as much as $17 million.
Reed did not say the company would sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or other federal agencies, and legal analysts say suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a tricky business that rarely succeeds.
One of the few times plaintiffs have won a claim against the Corps was last November when property owners in the New Orleans area won a federal court case contending that the man-made Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet had acted as a funnel channeling the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina deep into St. Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhoods in August 2005.
The judge's 156-page ruling said three homeowners and a business owner were entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, but the decision also holds the potential to spark billions of dollars in additional claims if it survives what could be years of appeals.
D'Amour said the MRGO case is one of the few times the Corps of Engineers' general immunity to lawsuits after floods has been breached, and it required a massive legal effort. The case hinged on what plaintiffs argued was decades of the Corps ignoring the dangers created by a federal decision to build the Gulf Outlet about 40 years earlier.
D'Amour said another possible legal avenue would be to attack how federal officials maintained or operated flood-control dams in the area, but that also isn't easily challenged. There may be a case "if there was negligent construction of a dam and/or the improper use of it," D'Amour said. "But the Corps has a very high level of immunity" in these cases.
At Adams and Reese, D'Amour practices primarily in the areas of casualty, insurance defense and coverage, products liability, class action defense, commercial litigation cases, construction litigation and worker’s compensation. He has taken more than 100 depositions, participated in more than 50 mediations and numerous judge and jury trials — including a multi-million dollar jury trial for which he served as lead counsel.Adams and Reese is a multidisciplinary law firm with offices strategically located throughout the southern United States and Washington, DC. American Lawyer includes Adams and Reese on its distinguished list of the nation's top law firms - "The Am Law 200". The National Law Journal also includes the firm on the "NLJ 250" list of the nation's largest law firms.