US: Outspoken hurricane expert sues over dismissal

Last April Ivor van Heerden, an internationally known hurricane expert, was told he was losing his job at Louisiana State University, writes John Schwartz for The New York Times. He and other experts said it was because of his outspoken criticism of the federal government's flood protection of New Orleans; the university would not comment. Now Van Heerden, the former deputy director of the university's Hurricane Center, is suing the university to get his job back.

His lawyers filed a lawsuit in Louisiana state court on Wednesday, charging harassment and wrongful termination.

Van Heerden joined Louisiana State University in 1992 and rose to prominence as an expert on storms and the region, becoming a research professor and director of the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes. In the years before Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, he sounded alarms about the potentially devastating impact of a major storm on New Orleans despite 40 years of hurricane protection efforts. After the storm, he vehemently criticised the Army Corps of Engineers on television and in print, arguing that engineering mistakes had caused breaches in the hurricane protection system that led to most of the death and destruction in New Orleans.
Full report on The New York Times site