In a step below “the dog ate my homework”, LSU offered the Court this excuse for Igor van Heerden’s pending unemployment:
LSU officials said in their court-filed response this week that van Heerden has not been fired, but added that his research contract will not be renewed when it expires May 21.
The LSU response also denied that “van Heerden’s criticism of the Corps or speech on any other matter was a substantial or motivating factor in the decision not to renew his employment.”
van Heerden, according to the Advocate, “wants a federal judge to block the expiration of his LSU contract next month”: h/t Editilla
A vocal critic of the Army Corps of Engineers, van Heerden sued the LSU system in February. He alleged he is being forced out of his job because of his argument that the Corps’ levees in New Orleans had design flaws that caused their failure during Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 surge across the city…
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said Wednesday that LSU officials will not comment while the lawsuit is pending….
This week, the nearly 50,000-member American Association of University Professors notified LSU that it will establish a committee to investigate the school’s action against van Heerden, former deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center.
Without warning, at approximately 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, 2009, and during the Government’s cross examination of a witness that Mr. Andry had just finished examining on direct, Mr. Andry and the Court were advised by Robin Smith of the filing of a Motion to Disqualify Mr. Andry and Ms. Sherman from this matter.
Robin Smith represented to the Court that the USA had not yet “ascertained” the facts, but was filing a motion in the event of a “potential” conflict of interest…Mr. Smith, as an officer of this Court, specifically declared,”We became aware of this conflict or potential conflict late last week and we sought guidance from our professional advisory office. We just received their report today advising us to go ahead and file this. It’s an issue for the Court to look into. It’s not something for us to determine. We can’t do it. We don’t know the facts. Opposition to USA’s Motion to Show Cause Why Plaintiffs’ Attorneys…Should not be Disqualified(emphasis in document)
Yesterday must have been Mr. Smith’s day to specifically declare. According to the attached Affidavit of attorney Elwood C. Stevens, Jr., his brief conversation with USA attorney Smith ended with Smith specifically declaring:
…he was tired of plaintiffs’ counsel offering him ethics advice and he declined to withdraw the motion.
If Federal Judge Stanwood Duval had a fan club, with your membership card, you’d get a pocket dictionary and OMG would you ever need one!
Yesterday was not a good day for the government’s attorneys. Judge Duval just flat got ’em told; and, while plaintiffs’ counsel got off light, they did not escape his pen without a scratch.
No one this far south has ever used the word pellucid to tell somebody off; but, Judge Duval did in the Order and Reasons he issued yesterday – and, given the significance of a pellucid telling-off, part one of this two-part post looks at the order of the reasons Duval got ’em told.
There is no question that this Court was forced to continue this trial for a second time based on the Government’s need to prepare its defense, making it practically four years since Hurricane Katrina struck this city to adjudicate this issue.
Furthermore, it unquestionably ordered on October 9, 2008 that Defendant’s Expert Reports and computer generated evidence were to be produced on December 22, 2008… The Court further ordered at that time that the depositions of all Plaintiffs’ and Defendant’s Experts were to be completed by February 6, 2009.