Judge takes motions under advisement in OPSB class action

Alejandro de los Rios Nov. 9, 2010, 3:19pm


Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Ethel Julien heard almost 20 motions on Nov. 5 in a class action suit filed by former employees of the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) after they were fired following hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans attorneys Willie Zanders, Suzette Bagneris, Clarence Roby, Anthony Irpino, Roderick Alvendia, Juana Lombard, Charles Samuel, and Walter Willard are representing the class of an estimated 8,000 OPSB employees that were laid off or forced to retire following the state of Louisiana's overhaul of the OPSB through the Recovery School District (RSD).

New Orleans attorneys William Aaron Jr. and Renee Smith are representing the OPSB. Baton Rouge attorneys Michael Rubin, Brent Hicks, Jon Giblin and Willa Smith and assistant Attorney General Angelique Freel are representing the state agencies.

OPSB and RSD counsel filed several motions in response to the plaintiffs fifth supplemental petition for damages which alleges all the school boards are liable for damages under the Louisiana Teacher Tenure Law (TTL) and Reduction in Force Law (RFL).

The state's exception cites a June 11 ruling in the First Circuit court in the case Hays v. BESE which stated that the TTL "does not apply to reductions-in-force; rather when a reduction in force is implemented the Reduction in Force statute (La. R.S. 17:81.4) alone is controlling. The defense argues that the plaintiffs cannot allege violations of the TTL and RFL because the laws "are mutually exclusive."

Plaintiffs argue that the RSD and OPSB "conspired to and, in fact, committed wrongful conduct which included, but was not limited to, the following: a) wrongful termination of plaintiffs and class members; and/or b) intentional interference with the plaintiffs' and class members' employment contracts and/or property rights."

Judge Julien took the plaintiffs' motions under advisement. She approved a state motion for leave to file a cross claim against the OPSB.

Orleans Parish Case 2005-12244

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