Louisiana State University has agreed to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by hurricane scientist Ivor van Heerden. Heerden claimed that LSU effectively destroyed his career in retaliation for his investigation of the flaws of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee systems that failed in the wake of Hurrican Katrina in 2005, flooding New Orleans.
Van Heerden issued a study that determined the city flooded due to structural flaws in the design of the levee and its floodwalls, not because of the size and strength of Hurricane Katrina, which is what the Corps claimed. LSU terminated van Heerden; he claims because it was scared the study would cost the university research grants. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eventually reached the same conclusion as van Heerden regarding the levees after an internal investigation.
“Obviously, it feels like a tremendous weight off my shoulders,” van Heerden said. “My wife and I are finally free to decide how we want to live and what we want to do next with our lives.”
It is troubling that a large state university would attempt to suppress an academic study’s findings. If you have been fired without just cause, please contact our firm today for a free consultation.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys