In February, Louisiana State University and former LSU engineering professor Ivor van Heerden reached a settlement agreement ending van Heerden’s wrongful termination suit against the school. Van Heerden had been fired after publicly stating that mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers contributed to the failure of levees during Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune is now reporting some of the costs to LSU:
The university and state officials provided [a group called Levees.org] with documents indicating that LSU paid van Heerden $435,000 in February, after U.S. District Judge James Brady approved an order dismissing van Heerden’s three-year-old lawsuit … The documents also showed that LSU paid Baton Rouge law firm Kantro Spaht Weaver and Blitzer more than $457,000 over 2 ½ years to defend the university in the lawsuit.
Not included in the documents was information on other expenses the university incurred in its battle with van Heerden.
Hopefully, these figures will make other universities realize that they need to be more careful not to infringe upon their faculty’s right to free speech and persuade them to stop wasting money and resources in defending unwinnable cases. Read the full article at The Times-Picayune.
(Pictured above: a person with a great interest in one million dollars.)