U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Traynor denied the U.S Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss North Dakota’s lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking recovery of damages relating to protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017 and 2018, allowing four out of five of the State’s claims to move forward.
Stenehjem sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act, looking to recover $38 million in damages to State property and law enforcement costs because of the Corps’ actions that enabled the massive protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Stenehjem said the state presented the claims to the Corps in 2018 but that he “was very disappointed that no representative of our federal government ever contacted me to discuss our claims. As North Dakota’s chief law enforcement officer, my office had no choice but to bring this action because it is so consequential for the State of North Dakota and its citizens.”
Judge Traynor decided that North Dakota’s case should proceed because the Corps “circumvented mandatory permit process requirements” when it invited and enabled the protests that went beyond peaceful protests and included violent criminal activities that endangered the public (including protesters) and the environment. Having negligently created the problem, the Corps then left it to North Dakota to spend tens of millions of dollars protecting public safety and cleaning up the dangerous mess left behind.
Much more at the link.