Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin ruled Tuesday that the LAUSD’s case against Gregg Breed, the district’s former chief risk officer, should proceed. The decision affirms a tentative ruling he handed down Nov. 19, after hearing arguments from attorneys.
“It was (Breed’s) alleged theft of LAUSD documents, not his public statements or subsequent filing of a lawsuit, that forms the basis of plaintiff’s claims,” Fruin wrote. “The gravamen of this action is defendant’s wrongful misappropriation and retention of LAUSD’s confidential student information, internal communications and attorney/client privileged or work product documents.”
The district sued Breed in June 2013. Documents filed by LAUSD attorneys state he was hired in March 2012 under a fixed-term agreement and that he was notified a year later that his contract would not be renewed. During his time with the district, Breed “had significant access to confidential and privileged documents and student information in the Miramonte sex abuse cases … ” according to the LAUSD attorneys’ court papers.
Before Breed’s contract ended, his lawyer sent the district a letter demanding that he be kept on the job and included information on students submitted in support of mediation, according to the LAUSD attorneys’ court papers.
“The same demand letter containing student fact sheets was given by Breed or his attorney to the media,” the LAUSD attorneys’ court papers state. “LAUSD learned of this disclosure when a reporter contacted LAUSD requesting more information. This was the first notice to LAUSD that Breed had taken documents and violated specific provisions of his agreement.”
Breed’s attorneys sought dismissal of the LAUSD complaint, arguing in their court papers that he was being punished for speaking out about alleged corruption in the district and for filing his lawsuit.
On Jan. 23, Breed filed his own suit against the district. He alleges the first series of settlements, for $30 million, were improper because former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt never came into abusive contact with those children.
The remaining cases were settled last month for $139 million.
Breed, a San Bernardino resident, asserts that he was a whistleblower, and his $14,440-per-month contract was not renewed in retaliation.
Breed states that he found errors in the some of the student claims, including the lack of signatures verifying information, lack of Social Security numbers and the wrong names when compared to school classroom rosters.
Berndt was sentenced to 25 years in prison for putting blindfolds on students, then photographing them with semen-filled spoons held to their mouths and 3-inch cockroaches crawling across their faces. He pleaded no contest to felony lewd acts on 23 children.
— City News Service
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