St. Tammany Parish v. FEMA, 556 F.3d 307 (5th Cir. 2009) • Who triggers the Stafford Act? • What does this person do? • What was the triggering event in this case?What is the Parish suing for?
Implementing the Stafford Act • What agency was delegated the authority to carry out the Stafford Act functions? • How did the agency set up the procedure for dealing with debris removal?
Why should FEMA pay for Debris Removal? • What is the standard for the feds to pay for debris removal? • How is the public interest defined in these regulations? • What does the reg say about the duty of FEMA to pay for debris removal? • Does the presidents declaration that the parish is eligible for funds mandate that it get funds?
What is the Threat? • Did FEMA find that the debris were an immediate threat to public health? • What does FEMA see its role in clearing the canals? • What does FEMA want to prevent? • What does the Parish want FEMA to do that FEMA does not see as a public health threat?
Claim 1 • The Parish's first count alleged that defendants violated the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5170 and 5173, by wrongfully refusing to fund dredging of the Parish's Coin du Lestin canals.
Claim 2 • The second count alleged that defendants were liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2674, for the same conduct.
Claim 3 • The third count alleged that defendants violated the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. § 553, and the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5165c, because FEMA's refusal to approve funding constituted a substantive rule change about which FEMA never provided the public with notice and an opportunity to comment.
Claim 4 • The fourth count alleged that defendants deprived the Parish of its right under the Stafford Act, id. § 5189a, and corresponding regulations, to appeal FEMA's denial of the requested funding.
Claim 5 • Lastly, the fifth count alleged that defendants violated the Stafford Act, id. § 5151, by failing to treat the residents of the Coin du Lestin community in a fair and equitable manner because FEMA funded similar projects in other communities. Plaintiff sought an order requiring FEMA to cover the costs of debris removal, a declaratory judgment that the government's policies violated the Stafford Act, and a monetary judgment in tort for sums required for debris removal.
Procedure • Based on Berkovitz, what did the district court find? • What does the plaintiff have to show first when there is a claim against the government? • How does the court say that the discretionary function exception in the Stafford Act compares to the same exemption in the FTCA?
The Non-Discretionary Duty • Where does the plaintiff find evidence of a non-discretionary duty to fund the debris removal? • What language does the court point to in finding these documents do not create a duty? • Do the regs say must or may? • What did the court hold?