NEW ORLEANS - The estate of a former university hospital employee has filed a suit for alleged age discrimination.

The estate of Ronald Joseph Rooney, through the personal representative of the estate, Susan Elizabeth Rooney, filed suit against the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, in the Orleans Parish Central District on June 25.

Rooney’s husband was an employee of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery for the LSU Health Science Center School of Medicine for approximately 16 years. In March 2012, Dr. Rooney had his pay cut from $400,000 to $349,000 in response to department budget cuts. A few months later, Dr. Rooney was presented with a new compensation agreement in the amount of $200,000 and was also informed that he could no longer take trauma calls. The suit claims that while Rooney was getting pay cuts, the school hired two young surgeons whose salary allegedly exceeded that of Rooney's.

On Sept. 5, 2012 Rooney filed an age discrimination complaint with the human resources department. The suit claims that the “independent physician” present at a Sept. 12 hearing to discuss Rooney’s complaint had close ties with the dean of the school and was a conflict of interest. A few days later, on Sept. 14, Rooney passed away.

The defendant is accused failing to complete the age discrimination investigation required by LSU Health Science Center policies and refusing to pay compensation from June to July 2012 and half of September 2012.  An unspecified amount in damages is sought for unpaid compensation, statutory penalties, attorney’s fees and damages sustained by Dr. Rooney as result of intentional age discrimination.

The plaintiff is represented by Lisa Brener of the New Orleans-based Brener Law Film LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division H Judge Paula A. Brown.

Case No. 2013-05918.

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