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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 017-UCWTD-00; Caddo-Bossier Parishes Port Commission
PW ID# PW 55 ; Legal Responsibility
Conclusion: Caddo-Bossier Parishes Port Commission (Applicant) has not demonstrated it was legally responsible for the work to repair the railcars located on its property. Therefore, the work is ineligible.
In June 2015, heavy rains and severe storms caused flooding throughout Louisiana (LA). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released water, which caused flooding along 22 miles of railroad track owned by the Applicant. Within its port facility, the Applicant leased property to various commercial tenants and provided tenants railroad switching services documented in service agreements with each tenant. As a result of the flooding, the wheels and axles of 63 railroad freight cars (railcars) owned by three of the Applicant’s tenants were inundated with floodwaters, and damaged the roller bearings on the railcars, which then needed to be replaced. FEMA prepared Project Worksheet 55 to document the Applicant’s request for assistance, but determined that the Applicant did not demonstrate it was legally responsible for the work to repair the railcars and consequently denied funding. The Applicant appealed and argued it was responsible for all of the damaged railcars pursuant to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Interchange Rules and the LA Civil Code and that FEMA misinterpreted the service agreements and lease agreement with its tenants. FEMA Region VI’s Regional Administrator denied the appeal because the Applicant was not legally responsible, noting specifically that the service agreements and lease agreement between the Applicant and its tenants provided that absent the Applicant’s own negligence, the tenants were responsible for repair of the damaged railcars. The Applicant again appeals and reiterates its prior arguments.
Authorities and Second Appeals
Stafford Act § 406.
44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a).
PA Guide, at 23, 30-31.
Bethel Missionary Outreach Ministries, Inc., FEMA-1603-DR-LA, at 5.
Nat’l Rice Milling Co. v. New Orleans & N.E.R. Co., 132 La. 615 (1913).
44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a)(3) requires the work to be the legal responsibility of the Applicant.
The PA Guide states the legal responsibility to repair a facility usually resides with the owner of a facility, unless the owner has transferred the responsibility to another party by lease or other legal instrument. The PA Guide applies this rule at the time of the disaster and states that a lease makes a tenant legally responsible if it specifically covers disaster damage.
The service agreements and lease agreement placed legal responsibility for repairing the railcars on the tenants, not the Applicant.
Neither the AAR Interchangae Rules nor the LA Civil code place legal responsibility on the Applicant. Rather, they both support the Service Agreements’ and lease agreement’s intent to place legal responsibility on the tenants.