Cases & Deals

Client's family successful in its challenge of inappropriate actions of a teacher

Clients Client D

Jones Day Columbus successfully represented Client D's family in proceedings challenging various inappropriate activities within the Mount Vernon City School District. In late 2007, Client D's former eighth grade science teacher burned the shape of a cross into Client D's forearm with an electrostatic device known as a Tesla coil. In addition, during the 2007-2008 school year and in preceding years, the teacher taught his personal religious beliefs-including creationism and intelligent design, among other things-to Client D and other students in his public school science classroom.

After failed efforts to resolve these issues through informal means, Client D's family sued the School District and the teacher in federal court with other counsel. Client D's family subsequently had issues with that counsel, and Jones Day took over the representation. Soon after, Jones Day negotiated a settlement with the School District for a monetary award and the requirement that the School District adopt an improved training regimen. The lawsuit against the teacher continued, with the Jones Day team defeating his counterclaims on summary judgment and also winning several discovery and sanctions motions against him and his personal attorney. After several evidentiary hearings on those motions, the Federal Court issued a ruling concluding that the teacher was untruthful in a number of respects. Just weeks before trial, Jones Day negotiated a final settlement of the matter, with the teacher's insurer paying a considerable sum to Client D's family.

The School District voted to terminate the teacher in 2008 for his inappropriate actions, and Jones Day also represented Client D's family's interests in the state termination proceedings that followed. After nearly two years of hearings, the administrative law judge will soon issue his opinion on whether the School District properly terminated the teacher, and the Mount Vernon City School Board will vote on that recommendation soon thereafter. In the meantime, the teacher remains on unpaid administrative leave.

The lawsuit and the struggle faced by Client D's family have received both national and international media attention. The Jones Day team consisted of Doug Mansfield, Leslie McCarthy, Allison Haedt, Matthew Jolson and Theresa Dean.