Saturday, October 11, 2008

Court of Appeal decision protecting gay students in Poway Unified School District

A 70-page decision has been issued by California's 4th District Court of Appeal upholding the $300,000 jury award won by Joseph "Joey" Ramelli and Megan Donovan three years ago.

The North County Times reports that the students "sued the school district for "deliberate indifference" to harassment, which for Ramelli included getting beaten up and having his car vandalized.

"'I am blown away," Ramelli, 22, said in a phone call from his Santa Cruz home Friday. "For the first time in seven years, I can breathe easy. All the pain, sleepless nights, the time in court ---- it was all worth it...This has nothing to do with money. This has to do with protections for kids...'

"Ramelli said the situation was so bad, he had little choice but to turn to home-schooling. Donovan, who also received threats of violence, also opted for home-schooling.

"...The three-judge panel unanimously found that the jury had enough evidence to conclude that Poway school officials showed "deliberate indifference" when the two students complained about the harassment..."


Apparently not.

A lawyer for Poway, paid for by San Diego County Office of education, says he  "disappointed" with the results.

It's hard to know how much he and his law firm collected from taxpayers. The San Diego County Office of Education--Joint Powers Authority is not forthcoming with public records showing how much the firm is paid. Director Diane Crosier thinks the California Public Records Act gives her arbitrary authority to hide law firm bills.

In addition, thanks to PUHSD'S decision to appeal, taxpayers must now pay more than $420,000 for the students' attorney fees. My guess that this amount is considerably less than what the district paid to its own lawyers, BUT THE DISTRICT SHOULD HAVE APOLOGIZED INSTEAD OF APPEALING, saving around a million taxpayer dollars.

Attorney Jeffery Morris defends the district, saying that the school has been "very aggressive" in training employees to address harassment."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The appeal to the 4th appellate by SASH did not show any signs of being remorseful. Now Jeffery Morris wants PUSD to appeal the 70-page decision against PUSD to the California Supreme Court.

What is this all about more billable hours at PUBLIC EXPENSE?
Has anyone notice that all of these hateful actions against students happen in Poway Unified School District and Vista Unified School District?

What do these two school districts have in common? They both have contractual agreements with Insurance Broker Keenan and Associates and Daniel Shinoff’s, “SASH” firm is their preferred law firm. Yes, Keenan and Associates as well as SDCOE through SELF JPA steer the billable hours to Shinoff’s firm. In the end it is the TAX PAYERS who get stuck with the MILLIONS of DOLLARS of PUBLIC FUNDS steered into Shinoff’s firm.

I guess we can say the entire San Diego County Public agencies is Danny’s crib.

Attorney Jeffery A. Morris from the firm of Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz says in the newspaper article that, “His clients have been "very aggressive" in training employees to address harassment. I wonder if they handed out a bully booklet instead of training the school administration, teachers and students? Why not VUSD did!

Ms. Larkins did you check out the list of attorneys for PUSD on the $$$ tab? WOW!!

The 70-page decision may be found by typing “Donovan v. Poway Unified School District 4th appellate” into Google:
File Format: Microsoft Word
More results from »

The listed attorneys for Poway Unified School District are:
Farmer, Murphy, Smith & Alliston, Murphy, Campbell, Guthrie & Alliston, George E. Murphy, Suzanne M. Nicholson; Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz, Jeffery A. Morris, Daniel R. Shinoff and Paul V. Carelli IV for Defendants and Appellants.

OUCH!! How much did this cost the taxpayers?

PUSD has to pay the students attorney more than $420,000 for the students' attorney fees, PLUS the $ 300, 000 for the settlement. PLUS the billable hours of the law firms above.
Attorney Jeffrey Morris still wants to appeal the 70-page decision?

Typical….public agencies need to disclose the amount of money they are paying out to these public school attorneys.

Vista Unified School has a perfect way to cover up the evidence; they destroy documents showing attorney fees. It doesn’t matter that the law says they cannot destroy ORIGINAL records unless they are backed up by PHOTOGRAPHIC, MICROFILM, or ELECTRONIC copies. Public agencies doing business with SASH don’t care as long has they have Shinoff on the pay roll; giving them ill advise who is going to challenge there illegal actions?

The law under education code may say that under EDUCATION CODE SECTION 35250-35258
5254. The governing board of any school district may make
PHOTOGRAPHIC, MICROFILM, or ELECTRONIC COPIES of any records of the district. The original of any records of which a photographic, microfilm, or electronic copy has been made may be destroyed when provision is made for permanently maintaining the photographic, microfilm or electronic copies in the files of the district, except that “NO ORIGINAL RECORD THAT IS BASIC TO ANY REQUIRED AUDIT SHALL BE DISTROYED”……

35255. In any joint school district, all returns, reports,
certificates, estimates, petitions, and other papers of any kind relating to schools and school districts, required by law to be filed with or presented to the board of supervisors or county
superintendent of schools, shall be filed with or presented to the
supervisors or superintendent of schools of each county in which any
portion of the district is situated.

Jeffrey Morris and his SASH firm have been "very aggressive" covering up crimes against children and their ill legal advice. SASH has certainly not been busy aggressively training bullies, because they are the BULLIES!