A federal judge says a lawsuit blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for heavy flooding from Hurricane Katrina can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval on Friday dismissed the Corps' argument that it cannot be sued for the flooding that devastated much of New Orleans in 2005. The decision clears the way for a trial scheduled to start April 20.

Lawyers for six flood victims claim the Army Corps failed to maintain a navigation channel called the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, allowing Katrina's surge to swamp eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

The corps argued federal law gives it immunity from lawsuits and that it properly maintained the channel.

The lawsuit is being watched by thousands of others with pending flood claims.