Hearing set in post-Katrina school worker firings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Louisiana appeal court has set a May 16 hearing for arguments over a judge's ruling that thousands of New Orleans school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the city and its schools in 2005.

At issue before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal is a ruling handed down last June by state Judge Ethel Simms Julien in New Orleans. Julien awarded more than $1 million to seven people who filed the class-action suit against the New Orleans school board and the state.

Her decision, if it stands, could also lead to damages for an estimated 7,000 others. The lawsuit began in late 2005 as an effort to prevent employee firings. It evolved into a wrongful termination action that took years to come to trial.

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