State dismissed in wrongful termination suit against OLB

Alejandro de los Rios Oct. 26, 2010, 1:52am

Judge Herbert Cade dismissed the state of Louisiana as a defendant in a wrongful termination suit against the Orleans Levee Board on Oct. 22 in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Orleans residents Ulysses Williams and Theodore Lange are suing the OLB and former president, Jim Huey, after they were allegedly fired without due cause in 1996. Part of the suit claims the state is liable under a Louisiana whistleblower statute because Lange refused to fire Williams for whistle-blowing the Levee Board to the governor's office.

Special assistant to the attorney general Greg D'Angelo submitted a motion for exception that stated, "Mr. Lange does not allege that office of the Governor threatened him or was in any way responsible for the Levee District's decision in May 1996 to fire him."

The motion also argued that Lange does not qualify for damages under the Louisiana whistleblower statute because he was not the whistleblower, Williams was, and because the statute was enacted in July 1996, after Lange was terminated.

New Orleans attorney Patrick Klotz is representing the plaintiffs in this case.

The 13-year-old suit claims that Huey "threatened" Lange's employment if he did not fire Williams and that Lange's employment "would be in jeopardy if he did not sign an order to proceed with work on a $22 million overpass project."

Orleans Parish Case 1997-04950

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