Yolanda Martinez Jul. 15, 2013, 7:56pm

NEW ORLEANS – A former sociology professor is suing Dillard University after being fired from an allegedly tenured position.

Winona Somervill filed suit in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on May 21, claiming the university breached their contract with her by firing her.

Somervill alleges that in May 2012, after 15 years of tenured service, she received a message from a university official stating that her position had been eliminated. She contends she was informed that she was terminated because her program and concentration was being eliminated.

Somervill argues that according to the faculty handbook, her tenured position cannot be eliminated. She claims that numerous courses in sociology taught by hired or retained non-tenured faculty are still being offered at the school.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract for improperly terminating a tenured position.

Damages are sought to compensate lost wages, calculated to be in excess of $250K, and non-pecuniary damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Freeman R. Matthews of New Orleans-based Usry, Weeks & Matthews.

The case has been assigned to Division C Judge Sidney H. Cates IV.

Case No. 2013-04852.

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