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7
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON
8
FOR THE COUNTY OF MULTNOMAH
9

10 STACEY SIBLEY,

11 Plaintiff, Case No.

12 v. COMPLAINT (ORS 654.062(5)(a) Retaliation;


ORS 659A.203(1 )(b) Retaliation; ORS 659A.199
13 PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Retaliation; Battery; Infliction of Emotional
Distress; Defamation; False Light)
14 Defendant.
NOT SUBJECT TO MANDATORY
15 ARBITRATION

16 (Damages: $772,383)

17 DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

18

19 Plaintiff alleges:

21 Plaintiff Stacey Sibley ("Plaintiff"), is a resident of Oregon and an employee of Defendant

22 Portland Public School District since 1993.

23 2.

24 Defendant Portland Public Schools ("PPS") is a political subdivision of the State of Oregon and

25 a public body corporate. PPS provides educational services to students in a region confined within

26 Multnomah County, Oregon.

PAGE 1 - COMPLAINT

LAw OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S.W. BROADWAY SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

2 Plaintiff worked for PPS as a Special School principal within the Pioneer Program from 1999

3 through June 2009. The Pioneer Program serves students with severe behavioral problems, including

4 students suffering from a variety of physical, educational and emotional disabilities. Plaintiff supervised

5 the Pioneer Program's expansion from two classes at its inception to a program which included four

6 separate schools which served approximately 470 students each year. During the 2008 - 2009

7 academic year, Plaintiff supervised five Assistant Principals and a staff of approximately 200 people.

8 Plaintiff was responsible for providing a positive and safe educational environment for some of the

9 PPS's most vulnerable students.

11 During the 2008 - 2009 academic year, Plaintiff reported to and was supervised by Joanne

12 Mabbot, Director of Integrated Student Supports for PPS ("Mabbot"). During that academic year,

13 Mabbot began making decisions regarding the staffing and administration of the Pioneer Program

14 which caused Plaintiff to become concerned about student and staff safety at the Pioneer Program

15 schools. When Plaintiff became aware of these decisions by Mabbot, Plaintiff promptly made Mabbot

16 aware of her concerns regarding student and staff safety and the basis for those concerns. Mabbot

17 repeatedly told Plaintiff that she would not take action to address those concerns and that Plaintiff

18 needed to accept her decision.

20 On or about March 10, 2009, Plaintiff and her five assistant principals met with Acting PPS

21 Human Resources Director Jollee Patterson ("Patterson") to express their concerns about Mabbot's

22 decisions and the impact of those decisions on student and staff in the Pioneer Program. On April 3,

23 2009, Plaintiff had a second meeting with Patterson and Assistant Executive Director Michelle Ridell

24 regarding Plaintiff's concerns about Mabbot's decisions and the student and staff safety issues.

25 6.

26 Following Plaintiff's meetings with Patterson, Mabbot became increasingly hostile toward

PAGE 2 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER


1000 s.w. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

1 Plaintiff, excluding her from making decisions regarding the Pioneer Program. Mabbot continued to

2 ignore Plaintiff's concerns about student and staff safety within the Pioneer Program.

3 7.

4 On May 6,2009, Mabbot approached Plaintiff in the public foyer of the Blanchard Education

5 Service Center ("SESC"), the headquarters of PPS. In the presence of other PPS employees, Mabbot

6 grabbed Plaintiff by the shoulders and turned her to face the center of the SESC foyer. In the

7 presence of others employed by PPS, Mabbot told Plaintiff that Plaintiff was no longer necessary to

8 the Pioneer Program and advised Plaintiff that she was being demoted.

9 8.

10 On or about July 1, 2009, Plaintiff was removed from her position as principal of the Pioneer

11 Program and demoted to the position of Program Administrator. During July and August of 2009,

12 Plaintiff was required to report to work at the central office but she was not provided any meaningful

13 job responsibilities to occupy her time. Plaintiff's salary was frozen at the 2008 - 2009 level and

14 Plaintiff was denied the salary increase Mabbot had agreed to at the beginning of the 2008 - 2009

15 academic year. Plaintiff was denied the opportunity to take continuing education classes although

16 other similarly situated Portland Public School employees were permitted to take classes. In August

17 of 2009, Plaintiff was placed on paid leave creating the false impression that she was being disciplined.

18 9.

19 On July 22, 2009, PPS's Senior Financial Analyst Annie Watt sent a defamatory email

20 regarding Plaintiff to several PPS staff. The email falsely stated that Plaintiff had previously misused

21 procurement cards issued to her by PPS.

22 10.

23 In August of 2009, Plaintiff was assigned to the position of Assistant Principal at Ockley Green

24 Elementary School. Plaintiff served as Assistant Principal of Ockley Green Elementary School

25 throughout the 2009 - 2010 academic year.

26 1//

PAGE 3 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER


1000 s.w. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

2 In response to Plaintiff's efforts to be placed within PPS as a school principal, Plaintiff was told

3 by PPS Superintendent Carole Smith and Executive Director Ha.nk Harris that in Plaintiff's position as

4 principal of the Pioneer Program, she was not a "real" principal. Since January of 2010, Plaintiff has

5 applied for numerous positions within PPS for which she was qualified by her education and experience

6 as a Special Schools Principal. PPS required her to submit to interviews and testing for those positions

7 when other principals were not required to engage in such a process to verify their skills and abilities

8 as a principal. Plaintiff was denied all of the positions for which she applied and for which she was

9 qualified, and less highly quali'fied individuals were hired into those positions. Plaintiff was denied a

10 transfer to a principal's position although other principals have been granted such transfers.

11 12.

12 On October 29,2009, Plaintiff sent timely tort claims notice to Carole Smith, the Superintendent

13 of PPS as required by ORS 30.275.

14 13.

15 Since January 1 of 2010, the following acts of retaliation have been taken against Plaintiff by

16 PPS:

17 Xavier Sotana, ("Sotana") PPS Chief Academic officer, responded to a parent's

18 inquiry as to why Plaintiff was no longer with the Pioneer Program, and when the

19 parent asked "did she hurt a child", Sotana responded, "We can't talk about that; we

20 are in litigation";

21 PPS released false information that Plaintiff was difficult and hard to work with which

22 resulted in Plaintiff being denied positions for which she had applied with other

23 school districts;

24 3. PPS described Plaintiff's role as the principal of the Pioneer Program schools by

25 falsely stating that she was a "hybrid" and that she "did not concentrate on

26 academics with her students";

PAGE 4 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S. W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

4. PPS administration denied that Plaintiff was a special school principal; and

2 5. PPS alleged that Plaintiff gave out false diplomas at the Pioneer Program schools.

4 At all material times, Botana, Watt and Mabbot and the PPS employees who engaged in these

5 acts of retaliation were acting in the scope of their employment. PPS is vicariously liable for the

6 conduct of the PPS administrators and employees, including Botana, Watt and Mabbot under the

7 Oregon Tort Claims Act, ORS 30.265(1).

8 15.

9 On March 10, 2010, Plaintiff and PPS entered into a Tolling Agreement by which PPS agreed

10 that the statute of limitations, or any other defense based on lapse of time was suspended and tolled

11 for the time period March 10, 2010 through and including the expiration date of the Tolling Agreement

12 with respect to any claim or cause of action that might be brought by Plaintiff against PPS related to

13 the allegations in the tort claims notice.

14 16.

15 As a result of the Tolling Agreement, the suspension of the Statute of Limitations remained in

16 effect until May 13, 201 0 which was 14 days after Plaintiff gave written notice to PPS of her intent to

17 terminate the suspension and tolling provisions of the Tolling Agreement. The period of March 10,

18 2009 through May 13, 2010 is excluded from all computations of any limitations applicable to the tort

19 claim.

20 FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

21 «ORS 654.062(5)(a) - Retaliation for Reporting Workplace Safety Concerns)

22 17.

23 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paJagraphs 1 through 16 above.

24 18.

25 Plaintiff fulfilled her statutory obligation under DRS 654.062(1) by notifying PPS of the violations

26 of laws, regulations, or standards pertaining to safety and health in the place of employment when the

PAGE 5 - COMPLAINT
LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER
1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503)241-2249

1 violation came to the knowledge of Plaintiff.

2 19.

3 PPS retaliated against Plaintiff by demoting her from her position as a special schools principal

4 and by engaging in the other acts of retaliation described in paragraphs 6 through 13 above because

5 Plaintiff opposed and complained about practices forbidden by DRS 654.015, in violation of ORS

6 654.062(5).

7 20D

8 As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's wrongful conduct, Plaintiff has suffered

9 economic damages and is entitled to an award of her lost income arising from Defendant's failure to

10 pay Plaintiff at a full principal salary in the amount of $22,383.00, plus prejudgment interest in an

11 amount to be determined at trial.

12 21.

13 As a further direct and proximate result of Defendant's wrongful conduct, Plaintiff has been

14 subjected to humiliation and emotional distress entitling her to an award of non-economic damages

15 in the amount of $250,000.00.

16 SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

17 (ORS 659A.203(1 )(b»)

18 22D

19 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16, 20 and 21 above.

20 23.

21 PPS retaliated against Plaintiff because Plaintiff disclosed information that Plaintiff reasonably

22 believed was evidence of a violation of federal or state law, rule or regulation by PPS or a substantial

23 and specific danger to public health and safety resulting from an action of PPS, in violation of ORS

24 659A.203.

25 III

26 III

PAGE 6 - COMPLAINT
LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

1 THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF

2 (ORS 659A.199)

3 24.

4 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16, 20 and 21 above.

5 25.

6 PPS retaliated against Plaintiff by demoting her from her position as a special schools principal

7 and by engaging in the other acts of retaliation described in paragraph 6 through 13 above because

8 Plaintiff reported information that she believed was evidence of a violation of a state law, rule or

9 regulation.

10 26.

11 Plaintiff is further entitled to her reasonable attorneys fees and costs pursuant to ORS

12 659A.885(3).

13 FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

14 (Battery)

15 27.

16 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

17 28.

18 Mabbot intentionally subjected Plaintiff to offensive and unwanted contact as alleged in

19 paragraph 7 above.

20 29.

21 As a direct and proximate result of Mabbot's offensive and unwanted contact, Plaintiff has been

22 subjected to emotional distress and humiliation entitling her to an award of non-economic damages

23 in the amount of $50,000.

24 III

25 III

26 III

PAGE 7 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

1 FIFTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

2 (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress)

4 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

6 Mabbot intended to inflict severe emotional distress or knew that severe emotional distress was

7 substantially certain to result to Plaintiff 'from Mabbot's conduct.

9 Mabbot's conduct caused Plaintiff severe emotional distress.

10 33.

11 Mabbot's conduct constituted an extraordinary transgression of socially tolerable behavior

12 based on social standards at the time of the events.

13 34.

14 As a result of Mabbot's conduct, Plaintiff has sustained emotional distress including mental

15 suffering and mental anguish which has been substantial and enduring.

16 35.

17 As a further direct and proximate result of Defendant's wrongful conduct, Plaintiff is entitled to

18 an award of non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000.

19 SIXTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

20 (Defamation Per Se)

21 36.

22 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

23 37.

24 By the email sent by Watt, PPS made and published a defamatory statement concerning

25 Plaintiff. The email of July 22, 2009 was false and defamatory per se because it represented that

26 Plaintiff had misused procurement cards issued to her by PPS.

PAGE 8 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER


1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

2 As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's wrongful conduct, Plaintiff is entitled to non­

3 economic damages for the injury to Plaintiff's personal and professional reputation and is further

4 entitled to damages for humiliation, emotional harm and erTlbarrassment, in the amount of

5 $250,000.00.

6 SEVENTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

7 (False Light)

8 39.

9 Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

10 40.

11 During a Pioneer Program parents meeting, PPS employee Sotana, while acting in the course

12 and scope of his employment, responded to parent questions regarding Plaintiff's absence from the

13 Pioneer Program. A parent commented that Plaintiff must have done something really wrong to not

14 be at the Pioneer Program and asked if Plaintiff had hurt a child. Sotana responded with the

15 statement, "I can't talk about that, we are in litigation" creating the false impression that Plaintiff was

16 no longer employed by the Pioneer Program because of wrongful conduct.

17 41.

18 Sotana's comments regarding Plaintiff were offensive and were made with the knowledge of

19 their falsity or made with reckless disregard as to the falsity of the statements and the false light in

20 which Plaintiff would be placed.

21 420

22 As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's wrongful conduct, Plaintiff is entitled to non­

23 economic damages for humiliation, emotional harm and embarrassment, in the amount of $250,000.

24 III

25 III

26 III

PAGE 9 - COMPLAINT

LAw OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 s.w. BROADWAY, S·UITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

1 DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

2 43.

3 Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all claims.

4 WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for a judgment against Defendant as follows:

5 On Plaintiff's First Claim for Relief:

6 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000;

7 2a Economic damages for back pay in the amount of $ $22,383; and

8 30 Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein.

9 On Plaintiff's Second Claim for Relief:

10 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000; and

11 20 Economic damages for back pay in the amount of $22,383; and

12 3a Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein.

13 On Plaintiff's Third Claim for Relief:

14 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000;

15 2a Economic damages for back pay in the amount of $22,383; a.nd

16 3n Plaintiff's attorneys fees and costs incurred herein.

17 On Plaintiff's Fourth Claim for Relief:

18 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $50,000; and

19 2. Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein;

20 On Plaintiff's Fifth Claim for Relief:

21 1a Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000; and

22 2. Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein.

23 On Plaintiff's Sixth Claim for Relief:

24 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000; and

25 2. Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein.

26 III

PAGE 10 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249

1 On Plaintiff's Seventh Claim for Relief:

2 1. Non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000; and

3 2. Plaintiff's costs and disbursements incurred herein.

4 DATED this 18th day of June, 2010.

5 LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

/F csimile: (503) 241-2249

9 mail: judy@jdsnyder.com

Of Attorneys for Plaintiff

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11 Trial Attorney: Judy Danelle Snyder, OSS No. 732834

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PAGE 11 - COMPLAINT

LAW OFFICES OF JUDY SNYDER

1000 S.W. BROADWAY, SUITE 2400

PORTLAND, OREGON 97205

(503) 228-5027

FAX (503) 241-2249