BA School District files Motion for Summary Judgment regarding Tort claims

Note: This article was written by ROBIN READER (612) and was originally published on her website Broken Arrow Forum on November 24, 2010, and reappears here on this blog with her permission.

Ms. Nour Habib’s summary in the Ledger article is accurate. The District’s Motion for summary judgment points out that Sisney missed the deadline for filing these claims against the District (by a lot), and even if he had filed in time, they don’t apply to entities like public school districts.

Before filing tort claims, it was required that Sisney send a Notice of Tort Claim to the District. He did this (exhibit 4). If the District did not take action on this Notice within 90 days, he was then free to file tort claims. He had 180 days in which to do this; he waited 361 days.

Missing the deadline is enough to disqualify these claims, but there are other problems that make them invalid.

All of the tort claims are intentional torts, meaning they are civil wrongs resulting from intentional acts. The School District is not liable for intentional torts, because it not liable for employees’ acts that are outside the scope of their employment. Intentional torts are acts of bad faith, and as such, cannot be committed within the scope of employment.

All of these claims fail because of the lateness in filing and immunity of the School District:

Count I: Defamation
Count III: Constructive Discharge
Count IV: Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Count V: Tortious Interference with Business Contract
Count VI: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Count III, Constructive Discharge, has an another problem, in addition to the first two. Curiously, Sisney claims he was bullied into quitting. Yet he states very clearly in all of his court filings that he was fired. Being fired invalidates this claim completely.

Didn’t Richardson know about the deadline? Didn’t he know about the District’s immunity from intentional torts? How can he claim both that his client was fired and that his client quit – in the same document? Why would he file a document as hopelessly flawed as this?

As much as Sisney tried to portray RFR as incompetent wimps who always wanted to settle, that doesn’t seem to be the case. RFR knows education law, and in Sisney’s federal case, even opposed Sisney’s attempt to get his own case dismissed!

Only one claim is left against the District, after addressing the tort claims: Breach of contract. Sisney admitted in his federal lawsuit that the District had fulfilled its contractual obligations to him.

Remember, we’re paying for RFR to draft documents to answer Sisney’s and Richardson’s obviously flawed legal actions; these accusations have been filed purely for PR reasons. Talk about wasting taxpayer dollars!

Sisney’s Notice of Tort Claim includes a very nice summary of his side of the story – worth reading to get the big picture. Notice that the first sentence incorrectly suggests that Air Assurance violated Competitive Bidding laws. As Mr. Rainey pointed out in Sisney’s deposition, a private company is incapable of violating competitive bidding laws because they are not subject to them; only public entities like school districts are.

If any competitive bidding laws were violated, it was by the school district – while the CEO was none other than Sisney himself.

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