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Widener Univ. School of Law

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Post-Katrina Litigation

USA Today has an interesting piece on lawyering post-Katrina in New Orleans and surrounding areas.  Point Of Law focuses on the sheer number of lawsuits.  The more interesting part to me (and one PoL does mention) is this:

The change in New Orleans' population likely will bring about another change in juries: They are likely to be whiter and wealthier than pre-Katrina juries. Before the storm, New Orleans' population was 68% black, the U.S. Census says, and more than 30% lived in households in which the income was below the federal poverty line, about $19,300 for a family of four.

Conventional wisdom (which I neither endorse or refute, simply observe) says the pre-Katrina demographics were plaintiff-friendly.  Current indications are that many of the first residents to return to New Orleans are wealthier professionals, possibly with a higher proportion of whites.  The impact on jury trials there -- and, not incidentally, on Houston where many Katrina refugees moved -- will be interesting to watch.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/01/httpwwwusatoday.html

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