• Goins Aaron, PLC of New Orleans

Judge Rules In School Worker Suit

June 21 2012 | blog

New Orleans, La. - It's a ruling that comes nearly 7 years after the Orleans Parish School Board dismissed more than 7 thousand teachers and other employees.

"The Judge found that the school board and the Louisiana Department of Education were liable to the class members for wrongful termination," says Bill Aaron

Judge Ethel Simms Julien awarded more than a million dollars to seven people who filed the class action against the school board and the state.

Her decision, though, clears the way now for damages to be awarded to an estimated 7 thousand others.

"I haven't talked to my client yet but I am going to seriously recommend that the case be appealed," says Aaron

Bill Aaron is the attorney for the Orleans Parish School Board. Aaron says the employees were fired in the months after Katrina, when the board lost more than a hundred schools and had no money to pay teachers.

"The ruling says that even though that was the case, the school board was supposed to still be paying people so we think aside from that being unfair, it's just wrong," says Aaron

The Judge said the fired teachers and others were deprived of the ‘vested property interest held in their tenured or permanent employment positions'.

The president of the United Teachers of New Orleans, Larry Carter, released a statement that read, "The message of this decision is that the educational communities in New Orleans and across Louisiana must understand going forward that they have to live and act within the law. Today, those dedicated educators have received some measure of justice."

The case took years to go to trial and it could be tied up for a lot longer through appeals.

Willie Zanders, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, called the judge's decision a huge victory and he says the fight is not over.

"People have been praying for us as a team and this is a major step. They know it's not over but they know this was a big step and they are happy with the judicial process. Of all the things that happened after Katrina, we believe the court system has worked," says Zanders

The state has not indicated yet, whether it will appeal. 

(Source: Fox 8 News New Orleans)

Video Link: http://www.fox8live.com/story/18841534/judg 

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