PAISD non-suited from discrimination case

David Yates Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00am

A former Port Arthur Independent School District teacher has non-suited the district from his age discrimination suit.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported in April 2007, Gary Phillips sued PAISD alleging the district fired him due to his age.

Following three years of litigation, Phillips' motion for non-suit was entered Sept. 15, 2010, court records show.

Prior to the non-suit, PAISD was seeking summary judgment on the grounds that there was no evidence of discrimination and that it was only following the recommendations made by an independent investigation of its workforce.

Phillips, a white male over the age of 40, was employed with PAISD for 23 years, and whose years of service with the district were "marked by outstanding reviews and almost perfect attendance," according to his suit.

"Despite his unique background, training and expertise, his employer terminated him because of his age in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act," the petition states. "Mr. Phillips was terminated despite being qualified to assume another position at the time of the discharge."

In court documents, PAISD had argued that its governing body was thrown into chaos following Hurricane Rita's rampage in 2005. In January 2006, the school board unanimously adopted a resolution declaring a need for a reduction in work force for the 2006-2007 school year, and hired individuals to examine its staffing.

Phillips was seeking compensatory damages for past lost wages and benefits, future pecuniary losses, past and future emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of wages and benefits, loss of earning capacity and other past and future non-pecuniary losses.

He was represented by attorney Dru Montgomery of Beaumont.

The district was represented in part by Melody Chappell, attorney for the Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt law firm.

Case No. E179-149

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