School board sued by former teacher for post-Katrina termination case

Kyle Barnett Aug. 2, 2012, 12:00pm

Marc R. Michaud

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans teacher is claiming he was wrongfully terminated by the local school board.

Joseph W. Johnson filed suit against the Orleans Parish School Board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of Education in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on July 6.

Philips claims he was employed as a teacher for the Orleans Parish School Board for 21 years prior to being placed on disaster relief when Hurricane Katrina struck the area in 2005. The plaintiff alleges he was never brought back as a full-time teacher and was forced to exercise his unemployment benefits before taking an early retirement from the school system at a much lower benefit rate than if he had stayed employed longer. Philips asserts that he was hired later by the Recovery School District, which had taken over a number of New Orleans schools, at a much lower salary and had attempted to rescind his retirement, but he was not permitted to reinstate his former status before he was terminated.

The defendants are accused of violating state law, denying the plaintiff a meaningful appeal and tortuous interference in the plaintiff's employment contract.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for lost wages, lost benefits, accumulated annual leave, state supplemental pay and reimbursement in the difference between health insurance premiums paid during the period of wrongful termination.

Philips is represented by Marc R. Michaud of New Orleans-based Patrick Miller, LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division D Judge Lloyd J. Medley.

Case no. 2012-06619.

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