A federal court judge in New Orleans has ruled that Ivor van Heerden, an outspoken former LSU hurricane researcher canned by the university in 2009, can proceed with his case against Louisiana’s flagship university, which van Heerden accuses of wrongfully terminating him in retribution for statements critical of the Army Corps of Engineers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The decision by Judge James J. Brady comes five months after Brady dismissed van Heerden’s claim that he held “de facto” tenure at LSU, where he had taught for 15 years. Following Katrina, van Heerden was outspokenly critical of the Corps’ role, or lack thereof, in protecting the Crescent City. The scientist later wrote a book excoriating the Corps for its flood-protection system in New Orleans.

 Brady ruled Monday, according to the Associated Press, that LSU may have violated state law by trying to suppress van Heerden’s opinions: “Unfortunately for van Heerden, the LSU administration and many of its faculty did not approve of his statements for fear they might cause the university to lose federal funding,” Brady writes in his ruling.

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