A Louisiana Supreme Court panel has overturned a lower-court class action stemming from the dismissal of teachers after Hurricane Katrina, a decision that for now spares the New Orleans district and the state of Louisiana from having to pay up to $1.5 billion in back pay.
About 7,500 teachers lost their jobs after Katrina hit the city in 2005, and nearly all the Orleans Parish schools were turned over to the state-run Recovery School District and reopened as charter schools.
Teachers had already won some $7 million under prior litigation. As other claims came in, the state and the district argued that such suits weren’t valid under a state statute that prohibits additional litigation on the same issue after a judgment has been rendered. The state supreme court ruled that there were no exceptional circumstances to allow the plaintiffs to proceed further, as well as no due process violations.
A version of this article appeared in the November 12, 2014 edition of Education Week as New Orleans Not Liable for Post-Katrina Job Losses