David Yates Sep. 6, 2013, 12:58pm

A motion for sanctions, filed by the Beaumont Independent School District, will be heard next week in litigation brought by two board trustees seeking contract information about the hiring of Superintendent Timothy Chargois.

As previously reported, trustees Tom Neild and Mike Neil filed a petition for an injunction against BISD and Beaumont attorney Tanner Hunt of Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt on May 16, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court, seeking information regarding the hiring of Chargois and his contract as head of the district.

Court records show that on May 8, Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim for injunctive relief, ruling that the request was moot.

However, the drama continues to unfold.

On June 6, BISD filed an amended notice to take the depositions of the plaintiff trustees on June 18. That same day, Neild and Neil filed a motion for sanctions, asserting that the discovery sought by BISD constitutes harassment.

“The only remaining issue in this case is purely a question of law, i.e. whether at the time plaintiffs sues, the suit was frivolous,” the defendants' motion states. “The requested depositions would do nothing to further address this issue, it is for the court to decide, and therefore the requested depositions should not be allowed.”

BISD fired back by filing its own motion for sanctions. A hearing has been slated for Sept. 12.

The original petition alleges Hunt, who was retained by BISD to handle negotiations with Chargois, violated the trustees’ rights by not providing them with documents concerning Chargois’ employment contract.

On July 24, 2012, a Rule 11 agreement letter was filed in the case, stating the plaintiffs agree to nonsuit Hunt if he consents to withdraw any claims for fees and costs, court records show. The order confirming non-suit of Hunt was entered on April 16.

According to the original suit, during the negotiations with Chargois the board took the stance that any salary increase would be the board’s decision and not part of the contract, due to the “wide-spread public dissatisfaction” with BISD Superintendent Carrol Thomas’ contract, which “resulted in automatic salary increases and the largest salary of any superintendent in the state of Texas."

KFDM 6 News broke a story claiming the May 1, 2012, agreement executed between Chargois and the district contained a provision for automatic salary increases.

Beaumont attorney Michael Getz represents the plaintiffs.

Germer PLLC attorney Larry Simmons of Beaumont represents Hunt.

The district is represented by Beaumont attorney David Bernsen.

Case No. D192-449

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