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Order Issued on Litigation

U.S. District Court Judge Darrel James Papillion issued an order on March 28, 2024 regarding the lawsuit filed on June 1, 2023.  Plaintiffs are the States of Louisiana, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia; more than sixty Louisiana municipal entities, including parishes, municipalities, and levee and drainage districts; and one Louisiana non-profit organization. Defendants are the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”); Alejandro Mayorkas, in his official capacity as Secretary of DHS; FEMA; Deanne Criswell, in her official capacity as Administrator of FEMA; and the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration.

As summarized in the order, “Plaintiffs allege FEMA’s new methodology, known as “Risk Rating 2.0—Equity in Action,” exceeds FEMA’s statutory authority, is not in accordance with law, is contrary to a constitutional right, and was implemented without observance of the procedures required by law…According to Plaintiffs, Risk Rating 2.0 fundamentally changes how FEMA calculates rates for federal flood insurance and is producing alarming results.”

Shortly after Plaintiffs instituted this lawsuit, they filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.  A joint hearing on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss occurred on September 14, 2023.

The Court, according to the March 28 order, found that the “Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint should be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction in advance of trial on the merits should be DENIED.”  Claims brought by the Plaintiff States and Plaintiff Policyholders (St. Tammany Parish, Livingston Parish, and Washington Parish) can move forward for a trial on the merits, which has not yet been scheduled.

Per the order, “the Court finds the Plaintiff States have shown it is likely that at least some of their residents will either choose not to renew or not to obtain flood insurance during the pendency of this litigation due to increased rates under Risk Rating 2.0. They have thus shown that there is a substantial threat that they will incur increased reimbursement costs or rebuilding costs absent the issuance of an injunction…Though this evidence satisfies the irreparable harm requirement, it fails to show that the irreparable harm the Plaintiff States are likely to suffer in the absence of an injunction outweighs the significant harm the Defendants have shown they will suffer if an injunction is issued.”  Furthermore, “To the extent Plaintiffs’ allegation that the increased premiums will lead to fewer policies in force is conclusory, the Court also finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly substantiated this allegation in a manner sufficient to carry their burden at the motion to dismiss stage.”

For more information on the lawsuit, click here.  To review the order in full, click here.  Additional court documents, including the complaint and declarations, can be found via the LSU Law Center.