LSU settles van Heerden case for $435,000

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Officials say LSU and a state agency paid former coastal researcher Ivor van Heerden $435,000 to settle court claims that his LSU career was destroyed because he alleged engineering mistakes allowed New Orleans to flood during Hurricane Katrina.

Michael DiResto, assistant commissioner for policy and communications in the Louisiana Division of Administration, told The Advocate the payment amount was provided by the Office of Risk Management.

In his three-year-old lawsuit in Baton Rouge federal court, van Heerden alleged that some university officials systematically ended his ability to perform hurricane research and eventually refused to renew his contract because they feared he would cost the school federal funds.

In telephone interviews, van Heerden and his attorney, Jill L. Craft, also declined to discuss the amount of his settlement check.

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