A $400,000 settlement offer is on the table to close the contentious, ongoing litigation between the Manatee County School Board and former employee Bob Gagnon.
Gagnon and his wife, Melissa, have already signed the agreement, according to agenda information posted Tuesday in advance of the school board meeting. The agreement is set to come before the school board June 14 for approval. If approved, the settlement ends the litigation and no party involved admits any liability.
Gagnon, a former Manatee High School principal and a former assistant superintendent, and his wife, Melissa Gagnon, an assistant principal at Braden River High School, began pursuing legal action against the board in February 2015.
The first suit was partially dismissed by Circuit Court Judge John Lakin in July 2015 but left open to amend. The amended suit was filed in October 2015, and a portion of the suit was ruled eligible to go forward in January by Circuit Court Judge Stephen Dakan.
Lawyers for the school board immediately filed an appeal and the case has been sitting ever since. A hearing is scheduled Thursday to determine whether the Gagnons can move forward with depositions while the case sits before the appellate court.
Lawyers for the Gagnons and the school board were not immediately available for comment Tuesday. A call placed to a cell phone number for Gagnon was not immediately returned.
The case arises from Gagnon’s dismissal from the district during the Roderick Frazier child abuse scandal.
The Gagnons filed the defamation case against the school board and individually against then-Superintendent Rick Mills; Troy Pumphrey, district investigator at the time; former school board member Julie Aranibar; and school board member Karen Carpenter.
So far, only the Gagnons have signed the settlement. The settlement includes space for signatures from all the parties.
If approved, the district would have 21 days to pay the entire settlement amount to a trust account in the name of the Romano Law Group, the attorneys representing the Gagnons.