Professor Ivor van Heerden’s whistleblower claim against Louisiana State University (LSU) now appears likely to proceed to trial, (Van Heerden v. Bd. of Supervisors of La. State Univ. and Agricultural and Mech. Coll., 10-155 (M.D. La.)), after Judge James Brady of the Middle District of Louisiana denied LSU’s motion for summary judgment on van Heerden’s whistleblower claim. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Van Heerden, a coastal researcher and biology professor, publicly criticized the levee work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2009, van Heerden was informed that his contract with LSU would not be renewed. Judge Brady rejected LSU’s argument that van Heerden disclosed only conduct of a third party, finding that LSU’s allegedly having ordered van Heerden not to speak may have been a violation of the law. The court also narrowed van Heerden’s claims, rejecting the former professor’s claims for breach of contract and for intentional infliction of emotional distress, finding that the alleged conduct was not sufficiently extreme or outrageous.
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Professor’s whistleblower claim may proceed to trial
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