updated 11/12/2008 9:46:31 PM ET 2008-11-13T02:46:31

A coalition of civil rights attorneys has filed a federal lawsuit claiming racial discrimination by a $10.3 billion Hurricane Katrina recovery program that was designed to help victims rebuild their storm-damaged homes.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks class-action status and claims the Louisiana Road Home program used a formula that diminished awards for as many as 20,000 African-American homeowners.

The attorneys say the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Louisiana Recovery Authority used fair market estimates of storm damage, instead of actual rebuilding cost, which led to lessened awards for black applicants.

Spokesmen for HUD and the Louisiana Recovery Authority did not immediately return requests for comment.

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