The ASWD School Law Practice group secured summary judgment for their client, Newport Independent Public Schools, in an employment case involving a teacher. Partners, Mary Ann Stewart and Claire E. Parsons led the defense, while Associates Bryce Rhoades and Paul Wischer assisted with briefing. The Plaintiff, Jessica Cope, had applied for two positions with the School District. The School District ultimately hired a retired teacher for one position and a teacher certified through an alternative process for the other. Cope claimed that the School District violated two statutes in doing so.

Ms. Stewart and Ms. Parsons persuasively argued that Cope was not in the class of persons intended to be protected by either of the statutes at issue. The Campbell Circuit Court agreed. The Court held that the first statute, KRS 161.605, “is meant to protect the class of teachers, including Plaintiff, from improper use of the teacher’s retirement system, not from being displaced or passed over for a teaching position in favor of a formerly retired teacher.” The Court also found that the second statute, KRS 161.048, “is meant to establish the rights of experienced individuals to teach in the state of Kentucky when they do not otherwise meet the statutory requirements to do so . . . . No part of the statute can be reasonably construed to create a statutory preference in favor of currently employed teachers[.]”

The Campbell Circuit Court also held that it was not the proper venue for Cope’s breach of contract claims, and ordered them transferred to the Franklin Circuit Court.

The case is Jessica Cope v. Newport Independent Public Schools, et al., Campbell Circuit Court Case No. 16-CI-00498.