BEAUMONT – On Thursday the Ninth Court of Appeals dismissed a whistleblower suit against the Beaumont Independent School District.
Shaunte Guillory made local headlines in early December when she filed suit against BISD in Jefferson County District Court, alleging she was demoted from principal at Mae Jones-Clark Elementary to assistant principal at King Middle School after making a complaint about Assistant Superintendent Dwaine Augustine.
In her suit, Guillory further alleged that she was put on leave after giving the FBI and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office information concerning a criminal investigation of Jackie Lavergne, Jones-Clark’s former principal.
Court records show the district filed a plea to the jurisdiction on Dec. 11.
Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, ruled in favor of Guillory, granting a temporary inunction and set the case for trial on Feb. 6.
In turn, BISD filed an accelerated appeal and on Jan. 7 Ninth Court justices stayed the case until disposition of the appeal.
Justices found the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Guillory’s two causes of action, retaliation under the Whistleblower Act and free speech retaliation.
“We reverse and dissolve the trial court’s temporary injunction, reverse the trial court’s implicit denial of BISD’s challenge to the trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction, and render judgment dismissing Guillory’s case against BISD for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” states the Ninth Court’s May 12 opinion.
Guillory sought up to $1 million in damages from the district.
Missouri City attorney Larry Watts represents her.
BISD is represented by attorney Jonathan Brush and Clay Grover of Rogers, Morris & Grover, a Houston law firm.
Trial court case No. B-197835
Appeals case No. 09-15-00531-CV