Sidney City Schools attorney fees top $42,000


SIDNEY — The attorney fees associated with the complaints filed by former Sidney City Schools employees topped more than $40,000.

The fees, associated with the Civil Rights discrimination cases recently resolved by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, total $42,890.69 for the period of 2020, when the cases were first filed, and 2022, when the cases were ratified and a conciliation agreement and consent order was signed. The fees were paid to the Ennis Britton Co., attorneys at law, with offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

According to Treasurer Mike Watkins, the attorney fees were paid from the district’s general fund.

The cases were filed by filed by ShaRhonda Johnson, Erika Foster-Wheeler, Tiffani Foy and Jayne Evans. Johnson, Foster-Wheeler and Foy were all aides with the school district whose employment was eliminated through a reduction in force by the Board of Education on May 18, 2020. There were originally 14 complaints filed and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission dismissed 10 of them.

Evans was the district’s psychologist. Evans’ contract was suspended at the June 15, 2020, meeting.

In the findings by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, each of the aides received $5,000 for non-economic damage awards and attorney fees. Each person will receive one check for the amount of $3,334 and one check per case will go to attorney Jason P. Matthews in the amount of $1,666 from the school district.

In the settlement of Evans’ age discrimination case, the school district will pay her a lump sum of $35,520 for nonwage and noneconomic damaged. The district will also pay her attorney Jason Matthews a lump sum of $17,760.

While the Evans complaint was ratified, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission notified her that they are investigating a charge of sex discrimination that she filed. The lead investigator will notify the school district of the investigation and ask for a written response to the allegations.

Evans alleges the district violated the Age Discrimination Employment Act, a federal statue.

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

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