"The roof was supposed to insure that the Superdome could serve as a haven of evacuation of last resort for hurricanes which threaten New Orleans; an ark in any storm where residents who could not otherwise evacuate would be safely housed," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, the state and the building's insurers. It names 14 defendants and seeks unspecified damages.
At the height of the storm on Aug. 29, 2005, the wind peeled away the Superdome's rubberized roof, installed in 2002 and believed to be able to withstand winds of 200 miles an hour. Doug Thornton, a vice president of the company that manages the building, said 70 percent of roof failed, allowing rain to pour inside.
"There was a massive failure in the roof resulting in its complete destruction, water saturating the interior of the Superdome and the beginning of a long nightmare for the tens of thousands trapped inside," the lawsuit suit states.
LSED attorney Larry M. Roedel said the plaintiffs hope to work out an agreement with the companies, suppliers and contractors named in the lawsuit. He said the damages could exceed $100 million.
"It is our belief, based on our engineering consultants, that at the time the roof failed it should not have failed given the design and products," he said.
The stadium is being renovated but is expected to be finished this month, in time for the New Orleans Saints first home football game since the hurricane.
The Saints host the Atlanta Falcons in the Superdome on Sept. 25.