Settlement reached in Jeanie Thompson lawsuit 3.19

Written by David Green.

A settlement was accepted by both sides to end the dispute over the lay-off of former Morenci Elementary School principal Jeanie Thompson.

Although no judgment was made against the Morenci Board of Education and superintendent Kyle Griffith in relation to a lawsuit filed by Thompson, a case evaluation team awarded her a financial settlement of $45,000 to bring the issue to a close. A third of that cost will paid by the school’s insurance company.

Thompson filed suit in January 2007, seeking $83,602 in lost salary for breach of contract, plus the loss of benefits she would have received.

Three other counts—charges of acting fraudulently, emotional distress and loss of consortium in the marriage—were dismissed by Lenawee County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Pickard.

Judge Pickard held onto the breach of contract complaint, but his decision wasn’t based on the charges filed in the lawsuit. Instead, he told attorneys that Thompson failed to receive adequate compensation (lack of consideration) for accepting the terms of a new contract signed in April 2006.

The new contract allowed for the layoff of any administrator after a 30-day notice. She and maintenance supervisor Dan Miller were laid off three months later as the district attempted to trim spending from a projected $300,000 deficit.

Judge Pickard said that school districts typically offer administrators two-year contracts that are renewed annually. He said the new contract benefitted the school district, but offered administrators no compensation for what they gave up.

Judge Pickard suggested resolving the case by negotiating a cash settlement and the matter was referred to a team of lawyers for case evaluation.

Under Michigan court rules, said school attorney Bill Vogelzang, case evaluation is used in civil cases when one party is seeking financial damages. Typically, three attorneys are asked to review statements from both sides and come up with a settlement acceptable to each party—generally a compromise to what was originally sought....

 

  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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