Mistrial Declared For District Administer Alleging Retaliation

The Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD) in California is under fire for causing a mistrial in a civil retaliation case filed by a former worker. That district, accused of unfairly firing an 18-year veteran with the organization, is accused of intentionally slowing the legal process, causing a mistrial. A judge in the case determined that the trial would not conclude until Nov. 7, although the jury had only been scheduled through Oct. 24, according to news reports.

Attorneys for the plaintiff argue that the defense’s lawyers chose to waste time by examining witnesses and defendants ad nauseum. Several of the defendants were interviewed by the plaintiff’s attorneys for less than 3 hours, while the defense examined those individuals for up to 7.5 hours, for example. Then, the district and its attorneys pleaded with the court for a two-week delay so they could organize their defense case. The trial was ultimately abandoned after the jurors protested that they could not serve for the duration of the proceeding because of personal reasons. One of the jurors had to report for military duty, for example.

The case involved a woman who was wrongfully terminated in 2012 after she revealed that the district was misusing public funds.

The woman’s attorney told local reporters that the dismissed jurors were likely to decide in the plaintiff’s favor. In fact, many of the jurors said the case seemed to be definitive retaliation on the part of FUESD. A judicial settlement conference has been set for mid-December in the case, which should provide the opportunity for the district to settle with the plaintiff instead of proceeding with the trial. Attorneys for the plaintiff say they expect a win based on multiple factors, not the least of which involves the ever-changing testimony of a key defense witness.

Many civil cases only proceed to trial after settlement efforts have failed. Attorneys in these cases know that a quick resolution is often the key to protecting the welfare of both parties. In this case and others like it, though, plaintiffs may have to fight through distracting defense tactics to get the money they deserve. Employment attorneys can prove to be valuable assets in some cases, helping plaintiffs protect their courtroom rights.

Source: www.thevillagenews.com, “Mistrial declared in Allyn vs. FUESD” Debbie Ramsey, Oct. 24, 2013