TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - A Texarkana judge has dismissed 11 civil lawsuits connected to the historic 2010 flood at Albert Pike campgrounds in Ouachita National Forest that took the lives of 20 men, women and children.
The Texarkana Gazette reports that U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey ruled Tuesday that the government is immune from the lawsuits because of the Arkansas Recreational Use Statute.
The plaintiffs argue that the camp grounds lacked warning signs and disregarded its own scientific reports which place the campground in a 100-year flood plain. They say an exception for "malicious" conduct, which includes a "reckless disregard of the consequences," outlined in the statute should apply.
But Hickney dismissed arguments from the plaintiffs' lawyers, saying the case lacked evidence that the government knew the area was a flood plain.
The plaintiffs have the option to appeal Hickey's ruling.
Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com