.

 

 

New Orleans Public Schools Employees Justice
(www.nopsejustice.com)

The most recent information on the case was posted on July 31, 2014.  To view the latest information, please click "Current Status and Developments" and "Frequently Asked Questions" on this website.

 The Louisiana Supreme Court will hear arguments presented by attorneys on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. This is open to the public but space is limited.

For additional details, please go to "Current Status and Developments" and "Frequently Asked Questions" on this website.

Please click here to review the Judgment from the Court of Appeal on January 15, 2014. Please click here for our press release issued on January 15, 2014.

Please click here to review the Judgment from the Court of Appeal.

Please click here to review the Judgment from the trial court. 

Please click here to review the "Reasons for Judgment" from the trial court.

(Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files. Download it free here)

 

 

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…. From Members of the Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee  

 
(Left to right) Juana Lombard, Clarence Roby, Anthony Irpino, Willie Zanders, Suzette Bagneris, Jeremy Pichon, Mark Glago.  Not in picture: Larry Samuel, Walter Willard, Rico Alvendia & Evelyn Battiste (Client Relations Manager)
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Posted October 18, 2012

IT IS 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 wonderful lady.

All of 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.

Please click here to review the Judgment. 

Please click here to review the "Reasons for Judgment."
(Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files.  Download it free
here)

These are public documents and may be distributed to anyone.

POSTED 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 violated law.

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 Katrina.

We know that there will be many questions. We have tried to anticipate a few:

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 money? 

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 money.

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 of money?

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 settled? 

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.

POSTED JUNE 20, 2012

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We have great news!  

 
Judge Ethel Simms Julien ruled today in favor of the tenured employees who were terminated following Katrina. Please click here to 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.
 

(Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view .PDF files.  Download it free here)

POSTED 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.

POSTED 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 decision.

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.

Insurance Money:

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 information.

Deadline to submit post-trial submissions in the Oliver case:

 

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 class members.

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 Oliver case.  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 FUTURE TIME. 

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 insurance policies.  Several of these insurance policies provided coverage for property damage and “business interruption.”

Typically, business interruption insurance policies provide employers with compensation to cover payment of salary due to employees.

 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 policies.

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 interruption.

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 was formally 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 are considered.

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 untrue. 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 completed.

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 time?

Yes.

How much time?

That cannot be determined at this time.

 Additional note:

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.

We 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 money?

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.

Update

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?

1.    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 scheduled.

2.    The Court Reporter will prepare the written transcript of all of the testimony.

3.    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 her ruling. 

Is there a deadline for class members to submit information?

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 Johnson.

Next to Testify (not necessarily in this order): education and economic experts, the named class representatives, plus a few others.

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 regular basis.

POSTED WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011 

7:00 PM

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 Legislative Auditor

      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 Board member

      Weegie Peabody, former BESE Executive Director

 

 

UPDATE

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, June 1:

 

  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 (continuation of testimony)

 

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": http://thelensnola.org/2011/05/26/opsb-rsd-mass-firings-katrina/

 

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                       1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 24                      9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011      9:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 25, 2011          9:00 a.m.

Friday, May 26   NO TRIAL/OTHER CASES SCHEDULED

 

Monday, May 30   COURT CLOSED; MEMORIAL DAY

Tuesday, May 31                      9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, June 1                  9:00 a.m.

Thursday, June 2                      9:00 a.m.

Friday, June 3                           9:00 a.m.

 

Monday, June 6                        9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 7                       9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, June 8                  9:00 a.m.

 

THURSDAY, JUNE THROUGH FRIDAY, JUNE 17             

NO TRIAL/SCHEDULING CONFLICTS

 

Monday, June 20                      9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 21                     9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, June 22                9:00 a.m.

Thursday, June 23                    9:00 a.m.

 

BULLETIN!

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 floor.

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 to change).

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 years is long enough.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied their request to delay the trial.

 

An important message from the Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee

Posted April 28, 2011.

 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 long.

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 post-hearing briefs.

 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 fault.

 At this time there are no deadlines for class members to submit information, but we encourage everyone to regularly check this website.

 We will try to post updates on this website during the trial as time permits.

 We continue to be honored to serve as your Plaintiffs Legal Committee.

Willie M. Zanders, Sr. Lead Counsel
Suzette Peychaud Bagneris, Liaison Counsel
Rico Alvendia
Jeanne Demarest
Anthony Irpino
Juana Marine Lombard
Clarence Roby
Larry Samuel
Walter Willard
 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE !!!

REGARDING “NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION

LITIGATION !!!

Tenured/Permanent New 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 a notice of Class Action Litigation.

 

Opt-Out Form
(Submit only if you DON'T want to be included in the class action) (Click to download)

Please note:

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 do nothing.

► If you did not receive a Notice in the mail, you may obtain one by clicking the above link.


New Orleans Public Schools Employees Justice
(www.nopsejustice.com)

We have established this website in order to provide information to New Orleans Public School employees who were terminated after Hurricane Katrina.

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 attorneys:

  • Willie M. Zanders, Sr. (Lead Attorney)

  • Suzette Peychaud-Bagneris (Liaison Counsel)

  • Rico Alvendia

  • Anthony Irpino

  • Juana Marine-Lombard

  • Clarence Roby

  • Larry Samuel

  • Walter I. Willard

***


  

NOPSE JUSTICE
P.O. Box 56068
New Orleans, Louisiana 70156-6068
mail@nopsejustice.com

© NOPSE JUSTICE. All rights reserved.