Hays responds to motion to dismiss
March 21, 2014
The Park City School District filed a motion in February to dismiss Hilary Hays’ lawsuit for breach of contract stemming from her termination in May 2012. Hays, Park City High School’s former principal, responded to the motion to dismiss last week.
In her March 13th memorandum opposing the motion to dismiss, Hays, via her attorney, Vincent Rampton, argued that the school district, which is being represented by the Utah attorney general’s office, has been "clearly using the legal system to make the resolution of [Hays’] claims more costly and difficult."
The memorandum points out that after the school district moved the case from state to federal court, it "then petitioned to have the federal claims dismissed and the balance re-filed in state court," where "Hays filed it to begin with."
Park City School District is joined as a defendant in the lawsuit by Dr. Ember Conley and Ray Timothy, the district’s current and former superintendents, respectively.
Hays claims that the reasons for her dismissal were not made clear and that her due process rights in challenging her dismissal were violated.
She was placed on "probationary status" by Timothy in September 2011 about eight months prior to her firing "based on unspecified charges by unnamed individuals, and ordered to see to the ‘elimination of negative behaviors’ which were also not specified," according to Hays’ March 13 filing.
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Hays then worked with a consulting service to work on improving those "negative behaviors" with her progress graded on a numerical scoring system. That scoring system was cited in her termination letter.
"Although you have shown improvement with your average rating from teachers changing from 5.74 to 6.79, the expectation level for a veteran administrator on this survey is an ‘average’ rating of 8.0," the termination letter reads. "From both licensed and classified staff over the 16 questions asked during each administration of the survey, you received no aggregate ratings of 8.0 or above in any category."
That 8.0 rating was "a target which no one had shared with [Hays] in advance," according to Hays’ March 13 filing. That, combined with the "unspecified charges by unnamed individuals" cited in Timothy’s letter placing Hays on probation and Timothy’s "mysterious and enigmatic observations" in the termination letter, would warrant a finding "that Defendants’ conduct toward [Hays] was arbitrary and capricious, and violative of substantive due process rights," according to the filing.
Hays seeks "an amount not less than $910,000" and "her prompt reinstatement as Principal of Park City High School with former pay and benefits; in the alternative, to an equivalent position with another school within the District, with equivalent pay and benefits," according to the complaint.
The attorney general’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit.