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Freshwater v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al.

(Full Title: Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education et al.)

On June 9, 2009, John Freshwater filed suit against the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District, Ohio, and against several individuals and organizations.

Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the district, had been the subject of an investigation commissioned by the Board after student and teacher complaints. The Board determined that Freshwater had proselytized in class, had taught creationism and omitted required material on evolution, and had branded students using a Tesla coil. The parents of one child, who had been branded with a cross, filed suit against Freshwater and the district. That suit was settled in late 2010 when the family was awarded $455,502 plus $140,000 for legal fees. The Board voted unanimously on June 20, 2008, to terminate Freshwater's employment.

Freshwater appealed the Board's decision, and a Termination Hearing on the matter began that October; it is also ongoing.

In his lawsuit, Freshwater names as defendants the Board, two individual Board members and four other district administrators, the investigative firm and its two employees, and up to eight unknown (even to him) "employees, agents or others associated" with the Board who may have "conducted or facilitated" actions against him. The original complaint included sixteen counts including religious discrimination, defamation, conspiracy and breach of contract. An amended complaint includes Freshwater's wife, Nancy, as an additional plaintiff, and adds a seventeenth count of loss of consortium.

On October 21, 2010, all counts were dismissed by the involved parties "with prejudice," meaning that the plaintiffs' complaints would not again be raised in a court of law. This action indicated that a settlement was reached outside of the courtroom and the case has ended.

Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.

Related NCSE Articles

News: Creationist teacher sued in Ohio

News: Creationist teacher in Ohio to be fired

News: Hearing scheduled for creationist teacher's appeal in Ohio

News: Creationist teacher in Ohio sues school district

Related Off-Site Material

Extensive blog coverage at The Panda's Thumb, including Richard Hoppe's day-by-day accounts of Freshwater's termination hearing

Coverage of the Freshwater Controversy at the Mount Vernon News

Coverage of the Freshwater case at the Columbus Dispatch. See the "Read the Report" and "Web Extras" sections of this page for district documents relevant to the case.

6/9/09: Original Complaint1.44 MB
6/9/09: Civil Cover Sheet108.02 KB
6/9/09: Court memo relating case to Doe v. Mount Vernon et al.69.23 KB
6/18/09: Amended Complaint103.31 KB
8/5/09: Defendant (Lynda Weston)'s Motion to Dismiss108.9 KB
8/6/09: Notice of preliminary pretrial conference, Sept. 211.41 KB
8/7/09: Court order setting hearing on Defendant (Weston)'s motion to dismiss for Sept 259.96 KB
8/7/09: Defendant (David Millstone)'s stipulation for extension of time36.98 KB
8/10/09: Defendants (Herlevis & HR On Call, Inc.)' stipulation for extension of time31.07 KB
8/10/09: Court order granting extension of time for defendants (Herlevis & Hr On Call, Inc.)31.51 KB
8/10/09: Defendants (Mount Vernon Board, Watson, Goetzman, Short, White)' answer to amended complaint82.65 KB
8/11/09: Notice rescheduling preliminary pretrial conference to Sept 167.67 KB
8/24/09: Motion for extension of time of defendants H.R. On Call, Inc., Julia F. Herlevi, and Thomas J. Herlevi13.21 KB
8/24/09: Order on motion for extension8.73 KB
8/26/09: Order on motion for extension106.92 KB
8/26/09: Motion for extension of time of Defendant David Millstone1.53 MB
9/1/09: Defendent David Millstone's motion pursuant to federal rule of civil procedure 11 for sanctions and fees6.1 MB
9/1/2009: Notice of filing of Defendant David Millstone's motion pursuant to federal rule of civil procedure 11 for sanctions and fees33.61 KB
9/2/09: Order on Defendant's Motion for Sanctions and Fees7.74 KB
9/2/09: Rule 26(f) report of the parties25.76 KB
9/8/09: Answer of Defendants to Plaintiffs' first amended complaint55.39 KB
9/17/09: Preliminary pretrial order14.66 KB
9/18/09: Scheduling order9.18 KB
9/18/09: Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a memorandum contra to Defendant Lynda Weston's motion to dismiss207.03 KB
9/21/09: Order on Plaintiff's motion for leave to file8.03 KB
9/21/09: Plaintiff's memorandum contra to motion to dismiss199.84 KB
9/23/09: Defendant's motion to seal29.6 KB
9/24/09: Order on motion to seal8.41 KB
9/24/09: Plaintiff's memorandum contra to motion to seal31.53 KB
9/28/09: Defendant's reply to memorandum in opposition to motion to seal33.51 KB
10/2/09: Reply of Defendant Lynda Weston to Plaintiffs' memorandum contra to Defendant's motion to dismiss64.71 KB
10/2//09: Opinon and order on motion to seal81.22 KB
10/6/09: Reply memorandum of Defendant David J. Millstone in support of the motion for sanctions of Defendant David J. Millstone2.99 MB
10/15/10: Motion to Quash Daubenmire's Subpoena324.16 KB
11/16/09: Order on agreed protective order9.21 KB
11/30/09: Opinion and order on motion for sanctions22.14 KB
12/8/09: Opinion and order on motion to dismiss48.75 KB
12/14/09: Defendant David Millstone's motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal rule of civil procedure 12(b)(6)93.97 KB
12/15/09: Scheduling order on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss7.74 KB
12/21/09: Answer of Defendant Lynda Weston to Plaintiff's first amended complaint79.45 KB
4/8/10: Opinion20.45 KB
6/17/10: Motion for miscellaneous relief19.8 KB
6/18/10: Order on motion for miscellaneous relief47.56 KB
6/26/10: Motion to compel92.96 KB
6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 1, Defendants' 5/3/10 Discovery Requests1019.59 KB
6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 2, Defendants' 5/10/10 Discovery Requests1.29 MB
6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 3, Declaration of Sarah J. Moore347.15 KB
6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 4, Relevant pages from Plaintiffs' 6/23/10 Discovery Responses404.48 KB
7/29/10: Order8.87 KB
8/3/10: Response in opposition to motion16.8 KB
8/17/10: Reply to Response to Motion50.01 KB
8/27/10: Sanctions granted52.79 KB
8/30/10: Order Clarification21.47 KB
9/22/10: Daubenmire Subpoena for Pass the Salt Ministries88.06 KB
10/12/10: Stipulation to dismiss Loss-of-Consortium Complaint70.59 KB
10/14/10: Order to dismiss Loss-of-Consortium Complaint22.92 KB
10/21/10: Dismissal with Prejudice for all Claims of Plaintiffs29.58 KB