Park City School District responds in Hilary Hays suit
February 21, 2014
In December, Park City High School’s former principal filed a lawsuit in state court against the Park City School District ("PCSD") for breach of contract stemming from her termination in May 2012. Last Thursday, Feb. 13, the school district responded to Hays’ complaint by filing a motion to dismiss it.
The delay in PCSD’s response can be attributed to the case’s removal, at the behest of the defendants, from state to federal court, followed by two motions for extensions of time. PCSD is being represented by the office of the Utah Attorney General, while Hays is represented by Vincent Rampton of the Salt Lake City firm Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough PC.
PCSD is not the only defendant in the case former superintendent Ray Timothy and current superintendent Ember Conley were also named.
In its motion to dismiss, PCSD argues that Conley should not be a part of the suit: "Other than stating that she is the current Superintendent of the PCSD, the Complaint does not allege a single fact regarding Dr. Conley."
In contrast to Hays’ complaint, which included eye-catching exhibits such as a letter from Timothy to Hays listing various complaints coworkers and parents voiced about the former principal, the motion to dismiss consisted mainly of more-technical legal arguments about why the various counts in the complaint were "inadequately pleaded," even if the facts are exactly as Hays’ complaint alleges.
"Any expectations Plaintiff may have had with respect to her continued employment with the PCSD do not approach a right ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’ to trigger substantive due process protection " reads PCSD’s argument as to why Hays’ claims of constitutional violations should be dismissed.
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In addition to the constitutional claims, Hays is also claiming breach of contract and of the Utah Orderly School Termination Procedures Act. She is seeking "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.
No hearings have been scheduled and no other documents filed since the motion to dismiss last week. The case is assigned to Utah’s most well-known judge, Robert Shelby, who drew both praise and scorn from politicians and pundits across the country after he ruled in December that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
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