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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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