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.

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