Articles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court

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Plaintiff Gerald Castille worked as a school bus driver for the St. Martin Parish School Board. During his first few years, plaintiff drove two "undesirable" routes, as they "required the assigned bus driver to travel very long distances while trying to maintain a safe and orderly bus populated with children from families that were known to have little or no respect for the bus operators. . . ." In 1980, plaintiff was assigned to the "Highway 31 Route," which was initially considered undesirable, plaintiff asserted it changed over time and became more desirable as the route became less populated. While driving that route for nearly thirty years, plaintiff claimed to have developed relationships with the students and their parents, noting the route gave him "a sense of purpose and dignity." In the spring of 2008, the costs of diesel fuel began to rise, and the School Board was forced to take steps to save money by redrawing and reassigning bus routes. Prior to the start of the 2008-2009 school year, the bus drivers received their new route assignments. The School Board assigned plaintiff a combined "Levee-Portage Route," two of his old routes, with no change in his salary, health benefits, or retirement. Plaintiff objected to this new route, but claimed the bus manager told him to try the route for a few weeks and come back if he was still unhappy. After two weeks, plaintiff requested to be returned to the Highway 31 route, but was told to deal with the current situation. He alerted his supervisors to the problems, but claim they took no action. According to plaintiff, he began experiencing anxiety and depression problems during this time. His problems continued until 2011, when a more desirable vacant route became available. Plaintiff filed the instant suit against the School Board, alleging the School Board violated La. R.S. 17:493.14 in assigning the bus routes in 2008. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in this matter to consider whether the court of appeal erred in awarding plaintiff damages for bad faith breach of contract. The Court found the court of appeal erred in awarding bad faith damages and therefore reversed that portion of the court of appeal's judgment, and affirmed in all other respects. View "Castille v. St. Martin Parish Sch. Bd." on Justia Law

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During its 2010 Regular Session, the Louisiana Legislature enacted Act 749 (Act), comprising La. Rev. Stat. 17:4041 through 17:4049, known as the "Red Tape Reduction and Local Empowerment Waiver Program." The Act authorized the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education ("BESE") to grant waivers exempting school districts and individual schools from complying with a number of statutes provided for in Title 17, the Education Code. Under the Act, a waiver could not be presented to BESE "unless a majority of the classroom teachers employed in the school, voting by secret ballot, vote in favor of inclusion of such school in the waiver request." At this point, no waiver had been granted under the Act, or even requested. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers and others (collectively "LFT") filed a petition for declaratory judgment against the State of Louisiana and BESE, seeking a judgment declaring Act 749 unconstitutional. In particular, LFT sought to enjoin Defendants from applying and enforcing La. Rev. Stat. 17:4041(7). Upon review of the facts in record, the Supreme Court concluded that the constitutional challenge presented in this case was premature and presented no justiciable controversy. Therefore the Court reversed the ruling of the trial court which held Act 749 unconstitutional. View "Louisiana Federation of Teachers v. Louisiana" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a writ application to determine whether a school board had tort liability for expelling a high school student after a fifth-sized bottle of whiskey fell from the student's backpack and broke on the classroom floor. The student claimed he was denied due process in the disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his expulsion. The district court agreed and awarded the student $50,000. Upon review of the trial court record, the Supreme Court found that the student presented no evidence whatsoever of being denied due process at the school board hearing. Finding the student failed to carry his burden of proof to show a denial of due process by the school board, the Court reversed the judgment of the district court. View "Christy v. McCalla" on Justia Law