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Hurricane Scientist Settles Suit Against Louisiana State U. Over Lost Contract

Louisiana State University on Monday reached an out-of-court settlement with a scientist who asserted in a lawsuit that the institution had wrongfully ended his contract in retaliation for his criticisms of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversaw the construction of levees that failed to protect New Orleans from flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The corps is a major source of the university’s federal grants.

The Advocate reported that Judge James J. Brady of the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge signed an order conditionally dismissing Ivor van Heerden’s three-year-old lawsuit.

Mr. van Heerden’s case riled faculty members and prompted the American Association of University Professors to censure the flagship campus’s administration last summer.

Court documents did not contain details of the agreement. The judge’s order specified that both sides could reopen the case at any point in the next 60 days to enforce the terms of the settlement, the newspaper reported. The university declined to comment to the newspaper, and Mr. van Heerden’s lawyer confirmed only that her client had reached a settlement with the university. She said she couldn’t discuss the details of the agreement until final documents were signed.

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