State Appeals Court Panel Hearing Post-Katrina School Firings Case

May 30, 2013

A five-judge state appeal court panel must decide whether to uphold a ruling that thousands of New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the city and its schools in 2005.

A lawyer for the fired workers told the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal panel Thursday that the Orleans Parish School Board and the state violated the rights of teachers and school workers fired after the storm. She urged the panel to uphold last year's ruling by Judge Ethel Simms Julien.

An attorney for the School Board called Julien's ruling "unprecedented" and "unlawful" and urged its reversal.

Simms awarded more than $1 million to seven lead plaintiffs in the case; and her ruling, if it stands, could mean millions more for an estimated 7,000 others.