A judge has dismissed most of a lawsuit filed by former Manatee High School football coach and athletic director Joe Kinnan against the Manatee County School Board, the former superintendent and school district investigator.
Arguments were heard in court last month, as the school board, Rick Mills and Troy Pumphrey sought to dismiss the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, Senior Circuit Judge Lee Haworth issued his ruling dismissing most of the claims in a 15-page court order. The ruling was announced during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“It was a tremendous result for the district. It narrows the claims,” school district attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum said after the meeting. “It dismissed matters with prejudice, meaning they will not be coming back against the district on significant claims.”
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Kinnan, who won five state championships as Manatee’s football coach, and his wife, Linda Kinnan, filed their initial lawsuit in September 2016 with nine counts claiming slander, breach of contract and conspiracy and former superintendent Mills and former investigator Pumphrey. The lawsuit was dismissed in January.
In March, the Kinnans filed an amended complaint claiming that he had been targeted by the school board as bogus investigations were conducted and his reputation was smeared as rumors were spread about Kinnan’s involvement in the Roderick Frazier abuse scandal and baseball team scandal at Manatee High School. The lawsuit was seeking $15,000 for loss of consortium.
All the charges against the school board were dismissed except one count for negligence. In that count, Kinnan claims the school board breached due care owed him by failing to properly vet, train and supervise Pumphrey as well as negligently supervising retaining Mills. That count also alleges that the district violated policies, and that misleading and false information about Kinnan was given to the Florida Department of Education and to the public.
Haworth dismissed all of Kinnan’s claims against Mills and Pumphrey except for a count of interference with contractual relationship against each.
Of those counts dismissed against the school board, three were dismissed with prejudice. That will bar Kinnan from seeking any further action in the claims of breach of third party contract, intentional inflictions of emotional distress and declaratory judgment against the school board.
Of the nine counts dismissed against Mills and Pumphrey, five were dismissed with prejudice including his wife’s one claim. Kinnan will not be able to seek further claims of invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Mills and Pumphrey. His wife will not be able to seek further action in her claim of loss of consortium.