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Risk manager accuses Los Angeles school district of retaliation

The former chief risk manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District is suing the district for $10 million for allegedly terminating him after he exposed "corruption and cronyism" in the LAUSD's Office of General Counsel. The damages listed in the suit include wrongful firing, retaliation and breach of contract.

The plaintiff was hired by the LAUSD to help settle the numerous civil cases arising from a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School who was accused of committing "lewd acts" on nearly two dozen children. The defendant in that case pleaded "no contest" late last year.

The plaintiff says that the district refused to renew his contract, with no explanation, after he complained about the way that plaintiffs' cases were settled. He says that not only was he kept from attending mediation talks with the plaintiffs, but so were the districts' insurance companies - something he called a "highly suspect and ultimately disastrous decision". As a result, insurers refused to pay the civil claims against the district. According to the suit, this means that LAUSD will have to foot the bill for $60 million in damages.

He also contends that the OGC ignored his advice that the district offer varying settlement amounts and instead offered the same amount, $470,000, to all plaintiffs, regardless of their individual situation. Some of these plaintiffs, according to the suit, never claimed that they had been the victims of sexual abuse or even that they had any contact with the accused teacher.

The OGC has disputed the plaintiff's characterization of himself as a whistleblower. They also claim that he did not raise any of the issues noted in his suit until he learned that the district would not renew his contract.

While there are specific whistleblower protections provided under the law for employees who report wrongdoing, any California employee who believes that he or she suffered retaliation and/or lost their jobs for bringing improper or fraudulent activities to the attention of superiors, law enforcement or prosecutors can and should seek damages through civil litigation.

Source:  Courthouse News Service, "Whistleblower Blames LAUSD for $60 Million Miramonte Sex 'Fiasco'" Matt Reynolds, Jan. 28, 2014

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