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La. Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Over 7,000-plus Post-Katrina School Firings

The Louisiana Supreme Court has dismissed a class-action lawsuit challenging the firing of more than 7,000 public school employees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — a blow to the many teachers who still seethe over the way they were treated in the storm’s wake.

The court’s 5-2 decision came as a surprise, reversing both the trial court and a unanimous panel of judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Had those rulings survived, thousands of former school employees might have been eligible for damages from the Orleans Parish School Board, which voted to implement the layoffs, and the Recovery School District, a state agency that took over running most of the city’s schools after the storm.

But in a decision released Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the teachers’ claims already had been settled by previous lawsuits and that even if they had not, their due process rights, as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, were not violated in the first place.