Federal judge tosses lawsuit of St. Tammany school bus driver fired after testing positive for meth
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A federal judge on Wednesday (Sept. 21) dismissed a lawsuit in which a former St. Tammany Parish school bus driver claimed she was wrongfully terminated after a random drug test showed methamphetamine in her system.
Raven Maurer sued the St. Tammany Parish School board nearly three years ago, alleging that her union and constitution rights to due process had been violated when her employment was terminated in May 2019, three weeks after her positive drug screen.
Maurer, who had driven school buses for the district for more than four years, said the firing subjected her to “substantial embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish.”
Her lawsuit said accusations of her illegal drug use by the school board were “knowingly false and wrongful.” She sued seeking compensation for past and future lost wages, as well as unspecified damages for the claimed mental anguish.
But U.S. District Judge Greg G. Guidry on Wednesday tossed Maurer’s lawsuit, granting the St. Tammany Parish School Board’s motion for summary judgment.
In that motion, the school board said it had terminated Maurer’s employment not out of malice or indifference to her Fourteenth Amendment rights, but for “the legitimate governmental interest of protecting children on school buses.”
“It is simply not allowed under federal or state law to have a bus driver, such as the plaintiff, employed with a failed drug test,” the defendants argued.
Guidry agreed, dismissing Maurer’s due process claims with prejudice, and her remaining claims without prejudice.
Maurer had told medical and school board officials that her positive drug test resulted from possibly taking a diet pill or diet pills given to her by a friend prior to her urinalysis.
The school board’s filing said a medical review officer from the testing lab informed Maurer that medication “could not have caused the positive findings” of her drug test. It also said Maurer failed to provide the doctor with a copy of any medical prescription that could have explained the methamphetamine in her system on the day she was randomly tested.
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