DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Former Grand Ledge Public Schools Superintendent Brian Metcalf filed a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit against the school district back in September.
Metcalf had been suspended over Facebook comments that blamed George Floyd, at least in part for his own death and the lawsuit alleged he was being denied documents he needed to defend himself. He was fired later that month.
Last week, Judge Janice Cunningham issued an extensive opinion on the lawsuit, concluding that the school district did not violate the Freedom of Information Act and that Metcalf, in many instances, had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the documents he was seeking actually exist.
“Didn’t make any finding or wrongdoing on the part of the school district. And indicated that he was requesting attorney fees for having brought the lawsuit and denied his request for attorney fees. So, in essence, it’s a win for the school district,” said the school district's attorney Tim Mullins.
Metcalf’s attorney, Eric Delaporte, declined to comment but said he does plan to appeal the decision.
According to the court document, Metcalf made 40 FOIA requests from the district between June 8 and October 29. The case involves 16 of those requests.
Metcalf has also filed for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association on Dec. 3 and is seeking compensation for what his lawyer called the Board of Education’s unlawful actions.
Mullins said former Justice Robert Young, who served on the Michigan Supreme Court, was named the arbitrator.
“At the end of that the judge will have to conclude first did the school district have reasonable cause to terminate Dr. Metcalf’s contract. And if he believes there was sufficient cause for the termination, then that would be the end of the case,” Mullins said.
If the arbitrator found there wasn’t sufficient cause for terminating his contract, Mullins said, the question then becomes what are Metcalf’s damages.
Metcalf earned about $308,000 in salary and benefits during this last year of employment.
“To my thinking, the maximum damages are what would the benefits of the contract have been. Another word from the time they stopped paying him up until up some four years from now, roughly what he would have been paid. So when you add all that up, that would probably be the maximum amount that he would get," Mullins said.
The arbitration hearing should take place in November.
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