This page most recently updated on May 18, 2015.
Some other pages most recently updated on May 18,
This is the website that contains up-to-date
information concerning the class action lawsuit filed on
behalf of over 7,500 tenured employees who were fired after
Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The lawsuit went to trial in
May of 2012. After hearing 17 days of testimony, and after
reviewing hundreds of documents, the Honorable Ethel Simms
Julien, Judge, Civil District Court for the Parish of
Orleans, ruled in favor of the fired tenured employees. A
five-Judge panel of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeal then unanimously ruled in favor of the fired tenured
employees. The Supreme Court of Louisiana then reversed
these rulings and ruled against the employees. We have filed
a Petition in the Supreme Court of the United States, asking
the highest court in our country to review the ruling.
Posted May 18, 2015
Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to
review the Supreme Court of Louisana's October 31, 2014
decision to dismiss our lawsuit.
The following is an excerpt of a summary of all
pleadings filed and actions taken by the United States
March 6, 2015: Petition for Writ of Certiorari
April 9, 2015: Brief of resppondents Louisiana et al
in opposotion filed.
April 9, 2015: Brief of respondent Orleans Parish
School Board in opposition filed.
April 20, 2015: Reply of petitioners Eddie Oliver at
April 28, 2015: Distributed for Conference as of May
May 18, 2015: Petition Denied.
After the above was posted by the Court today, our
Lead Counsel issued a Press Statement which is posted under
"Press Releases" on this website. As Attorney Zanders said
in his statement, we have exhausted our legal options at the
local, state and national level, but he has not ruled out
asking for a congressional hearing on Louisiana's use of
$500 million in federal funds after requesting money for
Any noteworthy development regarding a congressional
inquiry will be posted on this website or a new website
dedicated to that cause.
Our entire legal team joins Mr. Zanders in thanking
each and every class member for their patience and
cooperation. Additional information may be posted on this
website in the near future.
Posted April 1, 2015, Revised April 2, 2015 and May
This case has been the subject of great interest not
only in the local media but around the country. Here are
some links to a few of the articles that may be of interest
(updated May 5, 2015) (click each link):
"School workers filed after Katrina file U.S. Supreme Court
briefs" (Education Week)
"Laid-Off Katrina Teachers appeal to U.S. Supreme Court"
"7500 Fired teachers take their case to U.S. Supreme Court"
"Fired New Orleans school workers go to US Supreme Court"
Former OPPS employees may get their day at the U.S. Supreme
Court" (Data News Weekly)
Here are links to the Judgments and Decisions in the case: (Adobe
Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files. Download it free
Click here for the Trial Court's Judgment
(Honorable Ethel Simms Julien, Judge, June, 2012)
Click here for the Trial Court's Reasons for
Judgment (Honorable Ethel Simms Julien, Judge, June 2012)
Click here for the ruling of the Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeal (January 15, 2014)
Click here for the ruling of the Louisiana Supreme Court
(October 31, 2014)
Click here for Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice
Bernette Joshua Johnson's dissenting Opinion (October 31,
Click here for our Petition for Writ of Certiorari that we
filed with the United States Supreme Court.
Click here for our Reply Petition that we filed with the
United States Supreme Court
Here are some very significant documents that
give additional background information on this case. These
were among hundreds of documents introduced into evidence at
Click here for the letter dated September 14,
2005 from Cecil Picard (who was State Superintendent of
Education in 2005) to Margaret Spellings, who was Secretary
of the U.S. Department of Education in 2005.
Click here for the minutes of the meeting of
the Orleans Parish School Board on September 15, 2005.
For additional details on this case, please go to: "Current
Status and Developments" and "Frequently Asked Questions"
on this website.
Posted November 2, 2014
Reflections on a Sunday Morning from Lead Counsel
On this website just two days ago, we announced that
Louisiana’s highest court had ruled against our 7,500
clients terminated after Hurricane Katrina. It was Halloween
on a Friday (“Black Friday”).
But at 6:52 a.m. this morning, I received some
encouraging words from one of our Class Representatives or
“Lead Plaintiffs” and I am compelled to share them with
everyone. She wrote:
“I am of the humble opinion that no weapon formed against
“US” shall prosper and in the end the victory shall be
much love & respect for the entire dream team that
continues to represent us.”
Another Class Representative
had encouraging words: “We’re in it to win it…”. But she was
also thinking of others: “Please pray for our youth and the
city of New Orleans.”
I was reminded by another lead plaintiffs that “The
race doesn’t go to the swiftest, but to the ones who
So, from “Black Friday” to this bright and blessed Sunday
morning, I thank our dedicated, bold, and courageous lead
plaintiffs. On this Sunday, I pray for the attorneys who
have sacrificed so very much in this fight for justice. It
is because of our clients, attorneys and God’s grace that I
am inspired by a song I heard this morning:
Winans sings "I Feel Like Going On."
Willie M. Zanders, Sr.
…. From Members of the Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee
Lombard, Clarence Roby, Anthony
Irpino, Willie Zanders, Suzette
Bagneris, Jeremy Pichon, Mark Glago.
Samuel, Walter Willard, Rico
Alvendia & Evelyn Battiste
(Client Relations Manager)
Posted October 18, 2012
WITH DEEP SORROW AND PAIN that we announce the death of Ms. Gwendolyn Ann Ridgley,
one of seven “Lead Plaintiffs” in our class action lawsuit who was
“called home” Tuesday night, October 16, 2012. We pray for her mother,
Dorothy Ridgley and other relatives and friends.
Gwen will be missed. She was a
us will miss Gwen’s professionalism, untiring work ethic, and contagious
smile. In the words of Class
Rep. Cynthia Jordan: “As we
grieve for her and her family, we can take comfort
in knowing that the word of God
says, “Absent from the body is present with the Lord.”
Minister Brenda Square who
attended most of the class action trial commented: “
I am thanking God for Gwendolyn Ridgley
who stepped up to represent others with grace, dignity and
determination. May God comfort her family, you and your team, as
you experience His presence, guidance and wisdom during this difficult
time. Gwen's testimony will be recorded in the history books.”
Gwen has gone to a better
place so as we challenge the appeal, we will also fight in court for
primary and excess insurance policies which might cover the judgment
rendered in this case! Gwen’s death and the death of other class members
will not weaken our resolve. To the contrary, our strength has been
renewed in the fight for justice for New Orleans Public School
Employees. ---NOPSEJUSTICE !
NEW POST JULY 13, 2012...Please
see "Current Status and Developments" and "Frequently Asked Questions."
On June 20, 2012,
Judge Ethel Simms Julien ruled favor of the
tenured employees who were terminated following Katrina.
review the Judgment.
to review the "Reasons for Judgment."
Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files. Download
These are public documents and may be distributed to anyone.
JUNE 21, 2012
On June 20, 2012, the Honorable Ethel Simms Julien, trial court
judge, ruled that the termination of over 6,800 tenured OPSB employees
We are very pleased with this development. No doubt, this is a
huge milestone in what has been a long and difficult journey for
hard-working and loyal school board employees who suffered great
hardship because of the illegal and unjust termination after Hurricane
We know that there will be many questions. We have tried to anticipate a
The Judgment states how much money that the seven class members will
receive. What about everyone else? How much will everyone else receive?
In a Class Action lawsuit, the Court selects a few class members to
serve as “class representatives.” These persons actively participate in
each stage of the litigation acting in the best interest of the rest of
the class. At trial, the class representatives testify, along with other
witnesses, in the hopes of obtaining a judgment on the issue of
class-wide liability (in other words, who is liable for the wrongs that
were committed). They also prosecute their individual damages claims.
The class representatives in this lawsuit were successful in obtaining a
class-wide judgment on the issue of liability. This means that the rest
of the class members do not have to bear the burden or the expense of
conducting individual trials to prove who was at fault for the wrongful
termination of the class. Liability has already been established for the
benefit of all class members.
However, the Court must determine the amount of money that each person
is entitled to receive on an individual basis.
This means that each class member must prove how much money
he/she is entitled to receive as a monetary damages award. At a later
date, the Judge will establish a procedure for determining the
individual damages awards due to each of the class members. We will have
more information later.
The question that will be on everyone's mind: When will we receive our
The answer: More likely than not, the losing parties will exercise their
right to appeal the judgment issued by Judge Julien to the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court. There is no way
for us to project how long it will take for the judgment to become final
after all appeals have been exhausted. As a result, it could be a very
long time before anyone, including the class representatives, receives
Why will it take a long time?
First, because the party or parties that are not satisfied with the
Judge’s ruling have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The Judgment is not final until all appeals have been completed.
Second, the Court will need to determine how much money each individual
class member is entitled to receive. The amount of money must be
determined on an individual basis for all class members. The Court will
develop a process for the handling of a series of mini-trials to address
the issue of damages.
What does an appeal involve?
The party or parties who are dissatisfied with the Judge's ruling may
first ask the Judge for a new trial. This would involve filing a Motion
stating why a new trial should be granted. Then, the party or parties
may file a Motion for Appeal, asking the Court of Appeal to rule that
Judge Julien's decision was wrong. This will involve additional
memoranda of law and an oral argument before a panel of judges on the
Court of Appeal. After that, the party or parties who are not satisfied
have the right to ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the ruling
from the Court of Appeal. This process takes a considerable amount of
time. The Judgment is not "final" until all appeals have been concluded.
Why didn’t the seven named class representatives receive the same amount
The Court considered many factors in determining fair monetary awards to
each class representative. Some of the factors included consideration of
the testimony of each class representative, the tax returns of each
class representative, the fringe benefits of each class representative,
the financial losses proven by each class representative, and the
emotional distress experienced by each class representative.
Why didn't this case settle?
The parties could never reach an agreement, but we remain open to good
faith settlement discussions.
How will class members know if the case is going to settle later.
In a class action, the Judge would first approve a proposed settlement
and then require a Notice to be sent to all class members. Class members
would then have the opportunity to comment.
Do I need to take any action at this time?
We recommend that everyone gather all information that substantiates how
much money you lost because of the termination.
Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me?
No. The Court has appointed several attorneys to represent the interest
of the entire class.
What do I do with that information after I compile it?
Keep it in a safe place, for now. We will provide further direction as
soon as the court develops the process.
What if I lost all my information and don't have anything?
We will be providing information later.
What if I have already provided that information to you?
Then you are one step ahead!
Why did the case take so long?
Class action lawsuits usually take longer than other cases and this case
involved some new and complex legal issues.
There were no prior cases when all employees in a public school
system were fired at one time.
At the end of the case, how are we going to collect the money?
This is an issue that the Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee is considering and
we will have more information in the future.
Is it too late for class members to submit information?
No. There is no deadline at the present time. However, we encourage
everyone to provide us with information.
One of the media reports stated that the case was settled. Was the case
No. That media report was incorrect. The case was not settled.
We know that there will be many more questions. Please feel free to send
them to us through the "Contact Us" link on this website. We hope you
understand if we don't respond to everyone very quickly. We will try to
post the general questions and answers as soon as we can. Needless to
say, we will be "rolling up our sleeves" to respond to whatever the
other side files.
Two final comments: First, PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS OF RUMORS. There is no
limit to what you may hear "on the street." Also, media reports may not
always be entirely accurate. So
PLEASE if you hear anything that isn't on this website, send us an email
asking whether the information is true. We will try to respond to rumors
as quickly as we possibly can. As a general guideline: if it isn't on
the website, it probably isn't true!
Second, there is no way that we can cover all of the questions. So if we
haven’t covered something, please feel free to send your question to us.
We will respond and/or post the response as quickly as we can.
We recommend that everyone continue to regularly check this website.
JUNE 20, 2012
We have great news!
Judge Ethel Simms Julien ruled today in favor of the
tenured employees who were terminated following Katrina.
review the Judgment.
We know that there will be many questions. We will post
more information not later than close of business
Friday, June 22.
Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files. Download
MAY 14, 2012
We have many emails asking whether there are any developments. There are
no developments at this time. When we receive the Judgment, we will
immediately post it on this website.
MARCH 5, 2012
The trial has ended and the attorneys for all sides have filed
post-trial submissions. The next step is for the Judge to issue a
We know that there will be rumors as to when the ruling will be issued.
However, there is no timetable. There may also be rumors as to what the
Judge ruled. PLEASE check this website to verify any information that
you hear. We will post new developments as they occur. If information
isn't on the website, then it probably isn't true.
Posted February 17, 2012
We have two updates to report today.
We want to again make it clear that there is
no insurance money
that is about to be distributed to class members.
Background: OPSB is still seeking approximately $200 million from its
insurers for various damages which it sustained relative to Hurricane
Katrina. To date, OPSB has
received at least $25 million from its insurers for Katrina damages (and
the OPSB and the State of Louisiana are trying to divide these proceeds
between them). We are
attempting to make claims for the remaining money so that it can go to
our class members. There is
still no court ruling. We are continuing our efforts.
As a result of our filings in court, the Judge issued a stay order on
all insurance matters. The new development is that yesterday (February
16, 2012), the Judge extended this stay order through March 2, 2012,
pending hearings that will take place in early March.
We urge everyone to regularly check this website for updates and
Deadline to submit post-trial submissions in the
The Plaintiffs and the Orleans
Parish School Board have requested two additional weeks to file
post-trial submissions. The Judge has granted the request.
As a result of the extension,
the deadline for the lawyers in the case to file post-trial submissions
is March 2, 2012.
The Judge will issue her
decision after the post-trial submissions are filed. This does
not mean that the decision will be made on March 2, 2012. There is no timetable.
We urge everyone to regularly
check this website for updates and information. And…as we have been
saying all along…if you hear any rumors PLEASE verify the information on
the website. If it isn’t on the website, it probably isn’t accurate.
UPDATE POSTED JANUARY 25, 2012
The Court has completed the written transcript of the testimony of all
persons who testified at trial.
The Judge has given the attorneys a deadline –
February 17, 2012 – to
file the final post-trial positions.
Following that, the Judge will issue her ruling. There is no timetable.
We urge everyone to regularly check this website for updates and
information. And…as we have been saying all along…if you hear any
rumors, PLEASE verify the information on the website. If it isn’t on the
website, it probably isn’t accurate.
UPDATE POSTED JANUARY 6, 2012
There has been some confusion
surrounding the issue of OPSB’s insurance coverage for its Katrina
losses. We hope this website post clears some of that confusion.
First, we want to make it clear that
there is no insurance money that is about to be distributed to
The OPSB has been and is still
seeking approximately $200 million dollars from its insurers for various
damages which it sustained relative to Hurricane Katrina.
To date, the OPSB has received approximately $25 million from its
insurers for Katrina damages (and the OPSB and the State of Louisiana
are trying to divide these proceeds between them).
We are attempting to make claims for this money so that it can go
to our class members. However, there is no court ruling as of now, and at this time there are
no proceeds for class members.
We will continue in our efforts.
It is important to understand that
the OPSB’s insurers strongly dispute that the OPSB has coverage for, or
is entitled to, any of the remaining $200 million.
In essence, the OPSB’s insurers claim that they owe NOTHING to
the OPSB. Thus, THERE IS
CURRENTLY NO MONEY GOING TO THE OPSB OTHER THAN SOME PORTION OF THE $25
MILLION. Moreover, there is
a strong likelihood that the OPSB’s insurers will continue to maintain
this position unless and until a Court or a Jury determines otherwise.
The trial relative to the OPSB’s Katrina insurance claims will
not occur until the fall of 2012, at the earliest time.
As previously posted, we have
brought a “Petition for Intervention” in the OPSB’s lawsuit against its
insurance companies. We did
this in order to make claims for actual and potential insurance proceeds
which the OPSB has received and/or may receive in the future from
its insurance companies relative to the OPSB’s Katrina claims. This
could include Business Interruption insurance and seven (7) months of
unpaid payroll, from August of 2005 until March 24, 2006.
The OPSB filed several different
“exceptions” or procedural objections in response to our “Petition for
Intervention” claiming, among other things, that we have no right and no
claim to intervene in the OPSB’s case against its insurance companies.
Recently, in December of 2011, the Judge in OPSB’s Katrina
insurance case ruled on these “exceptions.”
In summary, the Judge ruled that we do have the right and
have stated a proper claim to intervene in the OPSB’s Katrina
insurance case. However, the
Judge also ruled that our current case (Oliver,
et al. v. OPSB, et al.), which is before Judge Julien, should cover
our claims to these actual/potential OPSB Katrina insurance proceeds.
As such, we were not allowed to intervene in the OPSB’s Katrina
insurance case at this time, but the Judge stated he may
reconsider our intervention claim after a judgment is rendered in the
We have filed the motion to have these two cases consolidated and
we will hopefully have a decision in the near future.
To be clear, ALL THIS MEANS IS THAT
WE MAY HAVE THE RIGHT
TO BRING THE INTERVENTION IN OUR CURRENT CASE (Oliver,
et al. v. OPSB, et al.) OR AT A FUTURE DATE IN THE OPSB’s KATRINA
INSURANCE CASE. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE ENTITLED TO ANY OF THE INSURANCE
PROCEEDS WHICH THE OPSB HAS RECEIVED OR WHICH IT MAY RECEIVE.
THAT DETERMINATION WOULD COME AT
We will of course continue to post
new developments on this website as they occur. We urge everyone to
regularly check the website.
UPDATE POSTED DECEMBER 5, 2011
Ever since our lawsuit
was filed, the Orleans Parish School Board has claimed that it didn’t
have the financial ability to pay salaries
or benefits to employees after Hurricane Katrina. However, the
Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee has now learned that in August of 2005 when
Hurricane Katrina hit, the Orleans Parish School Board had several
Several of these insurance
policies provided coverage for property damage and “business
insurance policies provide
employers with compensation to cover payment of salary due to
The Orleans Parish
School Board failed to disclose to us and to the Court that it had these
business interruption insurance policies.
Moreover, we have learned that
OPSB never made a claim for employee salaries in these insurance
The Orleans Parish School
Board has filed suit against several of these insurance companies (many
of you may have read about their lawsuit in the Times-Picayune)
seeking money for among other things, property damage and business
We contend that
at the least, these policies cover your salary from August
26, 2005 (the date when everyone was last paid) until March 24, 2006,
when everyone in the class action
terminated in writing by the OPSB).
As a result, we have filed a “Petition to Intervene” in OPSB’s lawsuit
against their insurance
companies, asking the Court to declare that your claims for salary are
covered by OPSB’s business interruption insurance policies, and asking
the Court not to allow the insurance companies to distribute the
insurance money to anyone else
until your claims for unpaid salary
If we are successful, it
could mean that there would
possibly be insurance money
to cover salary from August 29, 2005 through March 24, 2006.
Having said that, we
anticipate that there will now be rumors that “we have settled the case”
or that “everyone will receive salary from August 29, 2005 through March
24, 2006. So we want to be perfectly clear:
We are asking the court to rule that the business interruption insurance
must cover this claim for salary. We have not yet received a ruling.
We have not settled the case.
This new information has nothing to do with
any settlement, and if you hear any rumors about settlement, they are
Moreover, because this is a class action, the case cannot be “settled”
until we send Notice of a Proposed Settlement to the class, and class
members have the opportunity to comment.
We are still pursuing damages
beginning with August 29, 2005, with no end date. All this email states
is that at a minimum, we contend that the
insurance policies should cover the time period August 29, 2005 through
March 24, 2006.
Update on transcript:
The Court has told attorneys for
all parties that post-trial filings are due three weeks after the
transcript has been completed. The transcript has not yet been
Update Posted November 16, 2011
We know that everyone is eagerly awaiting word of the
Judgment of the trial court. However, a Judgment cannot be rendered
until the transcript of the written testimony has been completed and
attorneys for the parties submit post-trial pleadings. Because this was
a one-month trial, we expect the written transcript to be between 5,000
and 6,000 pages long. We are awaiting a “date certain” for the
transcript to be completed.
In anticipation of the completed transcript, the
Judge has already given attorneys a deadline of three (3) weeks to
submit post-trial pleadings after we receive the full transcript. The
Judge will render Judgment after attorneys file post-trial pleadings.
We thank you for your patience. Please know that we
continue to vigorously fight the injustice and to do everything that we
can to minimize delays. In the meanwhile, the Plaintiffs’ Legal
Committee extends our best wishes to everyone for a Happy Thanksgiving.
Update Posted September 14, 2011
The Times-Picayune recently reported that every class member will have
the opportunity to show the court what individual losses and damages we
have suffered. Is this true?
Yes. In class actions, if there is judgment in favor of the class
members, and after the judgment becomes final, then individual class
members will have that opportunity. The procedure will be determined by
the Judge much later, after the Judgment is final (that is, after all
appeals have been concluded)
There are nearly 7,000 class members. Won’t the process of appeal, and
then the process of establishing damages, take a considerable period of
How much time?
That cannot be determined at this time.
First, we ask class members not to give any statements to the media
(radio, television, newspapers, weeklies, etc.) This is because comments
that you make can be taken out of context and can hurt not only your
claim, but others’ claims. If you are contacted by reporters, we ask you
to tell reporters that you will only comment with a class action
attorney present. Then, send us an email.
Second, we have received emails from class members who have told us that
they “heard a rumor that…” We thank you for calling rumors to our
attention. (we haven’t heard one rumor yet that was true!) We ask class
members to check the website before repeating information to someone
else, or send us an email asking if the rumor is true. Thank you!
Update Posted August 9, 2011
We have received numerous requests for an update. We haven’t posted
anything lately because there haven’t been any new developments.
What is the current status of the case?
We have filed a Motion asking the Court to establish deadlines for
attorneys for both sides to file post-trial memoranda of law. However,
before post-trial briefs can be filed, a transcript of the testimony
from court must be prepared. Because it was a 17-day trial, the
transcript will be very lengthy. We estimate that this will occur
before the end of September.
estimate that post-trial briefs will be due in late Fall.
When will there be a decision?
After the transcript has been prepared and after post-trial briefs have
been filed, the Judge will issue a ruling. Because of the necessary
delays associated with filing post-trial briefs, we do not expect a
ruling until late 2011 or early 2012.
Because of the financial problems of the State and the School Board,
will there be a problem receiving money at the end of the case?
There are strategies that will be instituted if necessary.
How long after we get a ruling from the trial court would receive our
We do not have an answer to this question…but remember…the losing party
has the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and after that, ask the
Louisiana Supreme Court to review the ruling from the Court of Appeal.
Is there a deadline to return our packets?
No. There is still no deadline for class members to return completed
packets to us.
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011
On June 23, 2011, the trial
phase of the case concluded, except for the submission of a deposition
(as explained below) and post-trial briefs. We are extremely pleased
with the information that was presented to the Judge, and we feel
strongly that the evidence and testimony supports our case.
We know that many people have
questions as to what happens next. We are in the process of preparing
information to post on this website hopefully by the end of June. For
now, we will answer a few questions that are on everyone’s mind:
What happens next?
One of our educational experts has been out of the
country and unavailable to testify during trial. He will be returning to
the country in July, and we have reserved the right to submit his
testimony through a deposition. The date for the deposition has not been
The Court Reporter will prepare the written
transcript of all of the testimony.
Attorneys for both sides will have the opportunity
to submit written briefs. The Judge will establish deadlines for all
counsel to file memoranda of law.
We will post information on
this website when these events occur.
When will the Judge issue her decision?
It is not likely that the
written transcript and the briefs will be completed before the end of
August. There is no way at this time to know when the Judge will issue
Is there a deadline for class members to submit
Not at this time.
We recommend that everyone regularly check the
website for updates and to verify information that you may hear. If it
isn't on the website, it isn't accurate.
POSTED THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
We have now completed three weeks of trial. In
addition to the persons named below, we have presented the testimony of
Dr. Barbara Ferguson (education expert) and an economic expert, Dr.
Shael Wolfson. Each of the named class representatives have completed
their testimony as well.
On Monday, June 20, the State Defendants and the
Orleans Parish School Board will begin presenting their case. We expect
trial to end on Thursday, June 23. However, there will not be an
immediate ruling from the Court, because there is a second educational
expert who has been out of the country. This final piece of information
will presented to the Judge in late July. We do not know at this time
whether a ruling will be issued this summer, but we will post
developments on the website.
There is still no deadline for class members to
submit information to us.
POSTED SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2011
Two weeks of trial have been completed. Thus far, the
following persons have testified: former OPSB Compliance Officer Dr.
James Lloyd, former NOPS Superintendent Ora Watson, OPSB Member Cynthia
Cade, NOPS Superintendent Darryl Kilbert, former First Assistant
Legislative Auditor Grover Austin, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal
Bill Roberti, former Louisiana Department of Education Deputy
Superintendent Carole Wallin, NOPS Chief Financial Officer Stan Smith,
current NOPS Director of Human Resources Armand Devezin, OPSB Board
member Lourdes Moran, former OPSB Board President Phyllis Landrieu,
former Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot, and BESE Board Member Linda
Next to Testify (not necessarily in this order):
education and economic experts, the named class representatives, plus a
Trial resumes at 9:00 Monday morning, June 6. Trial
will continue on Tuesday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 8, and then on
Monday, June 20.
There is no deadline at this time to submit
information to the Lawyers' Committee. This phase of the trial is for
the purpose of determining fault and liability.
We encourage everyone to check this website on a
POSTED WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011
Following is the schedule of persons who will be
testifying for the remainder of this week. Note: both the names and the
order are subject to change:
Thursday, June 2:
Steve Theriot, former
Rev. Torin Sanders, former
President, Orleans Parish School Board
Phyllis Landrieu, former
President and member, Orleans Parish School Board
Friday, June 3:
Glenny Lee Buquet, BESE
Weegie Peabody, former BESE
Posted Friday, May 27, 2011
Week one of testimony went
very well. We are pleased with the evidence and testimony, and persons
who have attended the trial have told us that it was time well spent.
We have been asked to post a
list of witnesses to be called each day. Here is the list of witnesses
currently scheduled to be called Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1.
Please keep in mind that both the
names and the order are subject to change:
Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday,
Grover C. Austin, former First
Assistant Legislative Auditor
Carole Wallin, Former Deputy
Superintendent of Education
under Superintendent Cecil Picard
· Phyllis Landrieu, former
member of the Orleans Parish School Board
· Lourdes Moran, member of the
Orleans Parish School Board
· Reverend Torin Sanders, former
member of the Orleans Parish School Board
We have received requests to
provide a summary of developments each day. However, it is the opinion
of the Lawyers’ Committee that this would not be a good strategy while
trial is underway. However, there are some public posts that contain
information posted by others. For example, click the following link for
a recent article written by Jessica Williams in "The Lens":
WEDNESDAY MAY 25, 2011
TRIAL IS UNDERWAY!
Trial has begun, and
significant information has become public each day.
Location: Civil District Court, 321 Loyola Avenue
corner Poydras (adjacent to City Hall), 3rd Floor, Division "N"
The following is the current
trial schedule. It is subject to change, so please check this website
daily before you attend.
Monday, May 23
Tuesday, May 24
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Thursday, May 25, 2011
Friday, May 26 NO TRIAL/OTHER CASES
Monday, May 30
COURT CLOSED; MEMORIAL DAY
Tuesday, May 31
Wednesday, June 1
Thursday, June 2
Friday, June 3
Monday, June 6
Tuesday, June 7
Wednesday, June 8
THURSDAY, JUNE THROUGH FRIDAY,
NO TRIAL/SCHEDULING CONFLICTS
Monday, June 20
Tuesday, June 21
Wednesday, June 22
Thursday, June 23
Trial Begins Monday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. (new time)
Location: Civil District Court, 421 Loyola Avenue, corner Poydras St.
(the 4-story building adjacent to City Hall) Division “N” is on the 3rd
Trial is expected to be held on the following dates
(subject to change):
May 23, 24, 25, 26, 31
June 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 20, 21, 22, 23
Court will convene at 9:00 a.m. on each day except May 23 (subject
THE STATE AND THE SCHOOL BOARD TRIED TO DELAY THE TRIAL BUT THE
LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT REFUSED.
The School Board and the State Defendants tried to delay the trial –
again. After being denied by Judge Ethel Simms Julien and a Three-Judge
Panel of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, the State and the
School Board asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to delay the trial. We
strongly objected because justice delayed is justice denied, and we felt
that waiting 5 ½ years is long enough.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied their request to delay the trial.
An important message from the
Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee
Trial will begin on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in
Division “N” (3rd floor) of Civil District Court,
421 Loyola Avenue corner Poydras Street, which is the
building next to City Hall.
The trial is public, of course.
In early April,
the School Board and the State Defendants filed a Motion to
Stay the trial, in order to delay the trial date. We
vigorously opposed their Motion, and the trial court Judge
(Ethel Simms Julien) denied their request. OPSB and the
State Defendants then asked the Louisiana Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeal to delay the trial. We again opposed their
efforts, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal refused to
grant their request for a delay. Justice delayed is justice
denied, and we felt that a six year wait was already too
The case will
begin with our side calling persons to testify first. This
is a Judge-trial; there is no jury. Trial is expected to
take between 4 – 6 weeks, so it is not expected to finish
until mid-July. At this time, trial is scheduled to begin at
9:00 each morning, except on Fridays, when the Judge
schedules hearings on other cases, but schedules are always
subject to change. There will be no trial between June 6-10
because of a conflict with the annual meeting of the
Louisiana State Bar Association, which a large number of
Judges and attorneys attend. We urge everyone to check the
website to determine changes in the trial schedule, but
sometimes there may be schedule changes without notice.
We do not
expect the Judge to immediately issue a ruling when trial
concludes. It is likely that both sides will submit
It is important
for everyone to know that hearings to determine how much
money each person will receive will take place at a later
date which has not been determined. The first phase, which
begins May 23 and should conclude by mid-July, is for the
purpose of proving that the State, BESE and OPSB are at
At this time
there are no deadlines for class members to submit
information, but we encourage everyone to regularly check
We will try to
post updates on this website during the trial as time
We continue to
be honored to serve as your Plaintiffs Legal Committee.
Willie M. Zanders, Sr. Lead Counsel
Suzette Peychaud Bagneris, Liaison Counsel
Juana Marine Lombard
IMPORTANT NOTICE !!!
REGARDING “NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION
Orleans Public School employees who were terminated or forced to retire
after Hurricane Katrina should have recently received an envelope in the mail.
The envelope contains
of Class Action Litigation.
Because the Court has certified this case as a class
action, you are automatically included if you do nothing.
The form that you will receive in the envelope is an
“OPT-OUT” form. You should return the form only if you want to be
excluded from the lawsuit.
If you want to be INCLUDED in the lawsuit, you should NOT
return the opt-out form.
If you opt-out, you will not be able to recover any money from this
class action and you will not be represented by the eight (8) attorneys
appointed by the Court.
If you do not receive an
envelope in the mail, the “Notice of Class Litigation” and "OPT-OUT"
form have been posted on this website (see the above links).
Because the Court has certified this case as a class
action, you are automatically included if you
► If you did not receive a
Notice in the mail, you may obtain one by clicking the above link.
New Orleans Public Schools
have established this website in order to provide information to New
Orleans Public School employees who were terminated after Hurricane
Over 8,500 permanent and tenured highly qualified and dedicated public
school employees - including school principals, certified teachers,
counselors, social workers, secretaries, para-educators, cafeteria
workers, bus drivers and central office personnel – lost their jobs.
These employees are now fighting back. A lawsuit was filed in the Civil
District Court for the Parish of Orleans, against the Orleans Parish
School Board and various State Defendants (the Board of Elementary and
Secondary Education, State Department of Education and the Recovery School District). The purpose of the
lawsuit: to challenge the unlawful termination of these dedicated
tenured employees whose employment rights were ignored and violated.
We are honored to serve as the interim committee of attorneys
representing former NOPS employees in this historic lawsuit. The
plaintiff's interim legal committee is comprised of the following