May 08, 2014
“Flood of Lies: The St. Rita’s Nursing Home Tragedy,” written by James Cobb (L ’78), former longtime co-director of Tulane Law School’s trial advocacy program, has won the gold medal for Southern Non-Fiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
The book, published in 2013, tells the defendants’ side of the story stemming from the prosecution of Sal and Mabel Mangano for the drowning deaths of 35 elderly residents in flooding after Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005.
The state of Louisiana prosecuted the couple for negligent homicide in the drownings and on 24 counts of cruelty to the elderly or infirm. Cobb led a defense team that secured acquittals on all counts from a six-person jury in West Feliciana Parish.
In "Flood of Lies," Cobb recounts that volunteers from the class he was teaching at Tulane Law School helped comb through an electronic file of 300,000 pages of material from the government seeking evidence that might assist his clients.
“The experience was exhilarating for the students and for me. They mined all kinds of gems from the state’s own files, which would prove invaluable,” Cobb wrote in Chapter 26. “If one wants to even the sides in a fight against the government, sic a half-dozen motivated Tulane law students on your opponent.”
Cobb twice won the Monte M. Lemann Distinguished Teaching Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding adjunct professor.