Court tosses jury award in Katrina jail lawsuit
NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court has thrown out a jury's award of more than $650,000 to two Ohio tourists who were arrested in New Orleans on public drunkenness charges two days before Hurricane Katrina's landfall and jailed for more than a month after the storm.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman didn't falsely imprison Robie Waganfeald and Paul Kunkel Jr., both of Toledo, Ohio.
The men's lawyers argued they were entitled by law to be released within 48 hours unless probable cause was found to keep them in custody.
But the 5th Circuit judges concluded the 48-hour rule was suspended because of the 2005 storm.
The panel said the men's claims should have been dismissed.