A judge in New Orleans has ruled in favor of school employees fired after Hurricane Katrina. The decision could pave the way for thousands more workers in a class-action lawsuit.
The judge found the seven plaintiffs were wrongfully terminated. The 2005 storm caused levee breaks that left 80 percent of the city underwater. Schools closed for months and the state took over the majority of them. The Recovery School district laid off many of the Orleans Parish School Board employees they inherited, and not all were brought back as the city recovered.
Now, about three-quarters of public schools in New Orleans are operated under independent charters.
The judge awarded $1 million to the seven employees and could allow 7,000 more to file claims. No word yet on whether the school district will appeal.