BISD employee wants black woman’s discrimination claim dismissed

By David Yates | Sep 19, 2017

BEAUMONT – In July, a purchasing agent whose criminal trial made headlines last year sued her former employer, the Beaumont Independent School District, for discrimination.

BEAUMONT – In July, a purchasing agent whose criminal trial made headlines last year sued her former employer, the Beaumont Independent School District, for discrimination.

On Aug. 25, Rodney Saveatt, a BISD employee also named in the suit, filed his answer and motion to dismiss, arguing that he was not sued in his official capacity and that his testimony against her during her criminal trial is protected by absolute immunity.

Naomi Lawrence Lee filed suit against BISD and Saveatt on July 28 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to her lawsuit, Lee worked as a purchasing agent for Jefferson County, where a “disagreeable attitude of hostility” toward black people “still thrives amongst some members of white race.”

Lee’s white assistant desired her job and an opportunity arose for her to take it, the suit alleges.

Lee was then hired by BISD on July 7, 2008, as a purchasing agent, which became a hot topic for a local newspaper. Following an FBI investigation, Lee was indicted and then terminated by the district in April 2014.

A jury found her not guilty.

“Lee has been deprived of her constitutionally protected interests by BISD without due process of law,” the suit states. “Lee prays for a jury trial and a declaratory judgment that BISD violated her constitutional rights.” 

Attorney Larry Watts represents Lee.

Saveat is represented by James Byrom, attorney for the Houston law firm Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russ & Kyle.

Case No. E-200444

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