District Files for Partial Summary Judgment

Note: This article was written by ROBIN READER (612) and was originally published on her website Broken Arrow Forum on November 19, 2010, and reappears here on this blog with her permission.

On 11/18/2010, the District has filed for Partial Summary Judgment on the plaintiff’s tort claims.

Torts are civil wrongs that do not arise from contractual duties. They can be intentional or due to neglect. Of the charges Sisney names the School District as a defendant on, 4 of the 5 are torts. This may be why the motion was for partial summary judgment – it’s just relating to the torts.

Not a tort:

Breach of Contract – Since this is not a tort, it may not be included in the Motion for Summary judgment. What is interesting is that turning a breach of contract into a tort allows the plaintiff to recover punitive damages; this is probably the reason for adding the other charges, which are all torts. Punitive damages can go into the millions.

Tort:

Defamation – the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image.

Constructive Discharge – occurs when an employer deliberately makes working conditions intolerable, forcing the employee to quit. Sisney is claiming that he was bullied into quitting (yes, I see the irony). This is strange, since he didn’t quit – he was fired, which he admits. Since he didn’t quit, I don’t see how this can apply.

Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing – using shifty means and technicalities to breach the contract, or using the specific words of the contract to refuse to perform when the surrounding circumstances or apparent understanding of the parties were to the contrary. Sisney claims that by making his life miserable and plotting against him, they forced him to quit, thereby getting out of their contract with him.

Tortious Interference with Business Contract – occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff’s contractual or other business relationships. Sisney claims that the defendants interfered with his employment contract with BA Schools – meaning they convinced the board to fire him. I can see where Sisney is saying that Mann and Air Assurance tried to get him fired, but I don’t see how this could apply to the District as a defendant.

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