The School Board of Manatee County on Tuesday made its case for a judge to dismiss the lawsuit against it being brought by former Manatee High School football coach Joe Kinnan.
Judge Brian Iten heard the school board’s argument for the case to be dismissed at the Manatee County Judicial Center, and he announced he would reserve ruling and issue a written order because of the complexity of the 84-page, 289 paragraph lawsuit.
Kinnan filed his suit in September against the school district, former investigator for the school board Troy Pumphrey and former district Superintendent Rick Mills, alleging an extensive pattern of defamation. Kinnan is suing for $15,000 for loss of consortium and requesting a jury trial on eight other counts.
Kinnan appeared in court with Corey Friedman representing him. Pumphrey and Mills were not present.
School district lawyer Erin Jackson’s main argument was based on a Florida statute granting subdivisions of the state sovereign immunity when an employee acts outside the scope of their responsibility or within the scope of their responsibility but with malice. In both instances, according to statute, the individual can be liable but the subdivision is immune.
The suit’s length was also part of the argument for the judge to dismiss. Jackson described the suit as “rambling allegations ... without a factual basis for them.”
Friedman defended the length of the suit, saying that a long-standing pattern of attacks on Kinnan required a comprehensive complaint.
“This particular case and these circumstances merit this type of complaint,” Friedman said. “We’ve done our best to keep it as concise as possible.”
Iten did not say when his written order would be issued.