BEAUMONT – A lawsuit filed in Jefferson County over the death of Dennis Reeves, the Kirbyville High School principal who committed suicide two years ago, will be transferred to Jasper County.
On May 23, 2017, Reeves was found dead in his pickup shortly after being forced to resign from his job.
Reeves’ supervisor had confronted him about allegations that he had sexually harassed a subordinate employee and was offered the opportunity to resign in lieu of an investigation, according to court records.
On July 2, Kirbyville CISD filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Ninth Court of Appeals, questioning whether Judge Justin Sanderson, 60th District Court, abused his discretion by failing to transfer the case to Jasper County – the venue where the district is located.
The writ also questioned whether Judge Sanderson had the discretion to continue the district’s plea to the jurisdiction and order discovery not limited to any particular jurisdictional fact issues.
On Aug. 8, the Ninth Court found Judge Sanderson “clearly” abused his discretion by denying the motion to transfer.
Paul “Chip” Ferguson, who is representing the plaintiffs, says the opinion “merely changes the battlefield” and the he and his team will continue the fight in Jasper County.
“For more than two years, Tammy Reeves and her family have soldiered on in their quest for answers,” Ferguson said. “At every turn, KCISD has erected roadblocks to that search for the truth. I hope that today’s ruling does not signal that KCISD has a willing partner in such an endeavor.”
Ferguson believes the citizens and taxpayers of Kirbyville are entitled to answers regarding their public schools.
“We are striking the match to light the candle to shed light on this tragic situation,” Ferguson said. “It is even more tragic that all KCISD can do is slither behind us to blow each candle out.”
Kirbyville CISD is represented by Sara Leon & Associates.
Jefferson County case No. B-203433
Appeals case No. 09-19-00209-CV