Atchafalaya Basin Litigation Attorneys in Lafayette
The Atchafalaya Basin, also known as the Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest river basin and swamp in America, consisting of over 500,000 acres and described as one of the crown-jewel environmental areas in North America. As a navigable water bottom, the basin is owned by the state and not by private property owners. It is a resource that should be shared and protected by all who use it. When a private company’s actions damage the basin, or when alleged private landowners refuse to let commercial fishermen use the basin, an experienced lawyer can help.
At Joseph Joy & Associates in Lafayette, Louisiana, we represent commercial fishermen and the public in lawsuits involving the Atchafalaya Basin, including:
- Protecting commercial fishermen’s rights to use the basin’s waterways
- Bringing personal injury claims for boat accidents that occurred in the Atchafalaya basin (hitting submerged pipelines, etc.)
- Litigating environmental destruction claims against companies that introduce pollutants into the basin
- Litigating claims against alleged private property owners whose actions significantly impacted the basin, such as obstructing the flow of water by destroying dams
In 2005, Mr. Joy and his legal team represented over 80 commercial fishermen against many of the big oil companies, pipeline companies, dredging companies, and surveying companies for destroying the livelihood of the fishermen who for generations commercially fished the Atchafalaya Basin. This is another first in litigation by Mr. Joy and his legal team as they have already obtained a partial confidential settlement on behalf of the commercial crawfishermen.
Protecting Crawfishermen’s Rights to Use the Basin
Far too often, alleged private property owners will claim that they own part of the basin and pick up crawfishermen’s commercial traps or otherwise prevent commercial fishermen from using the river basin and swamp. Our trial lawyers understand that your work is seasonal and that these alleged property owners are hurting your livelihood. The public has a right to go into the basin and enjoy what it has to offer. This right cannot be encumbered by anyone who claims private property ownership. We have experience representing commercial crawfishermen in litigation to protect their rights to use the public Atchafalaya Basin.
For example, we litigated a case in federal court where an alleged property owner shot at our client, a crawfisherman, claiming that the lake was his private lake. The federal judge ruled that the lake was public.
Litigation Can Be Complicated
Make sure you have a litigation attorney who can sort through all the issues and present a convincing argument to a jury.