Lawsuit against Richland School District dismissed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lawsuit against Richland School District dismissed

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Jim Busey Jim Busey

RICHLAND, Wash. - The Richland School District says a lawsuit filed against them in 2013 has been dismissed.

Former Superintendent, Jim Busey was let go in January, 2013 after he was accused of having an affair with a district employee. 

The following month, in February, Busey brought five causes of action against the District, claiming civil rights were violated when he was fired. He was seeking $1 million. The district says all claims were dismissed and they did not have to pay Busey any money. 

Busey has the right to appeal three of the dismissed claims. He must do so by May 15.


PREVIOUS: (Feb 27, 2013)

RICHLAND, Wash. - New developments in the dismissal of former Richland School Superintendent Jim Busey. On Monday he filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the School District and the board's five members.

The lawsuit claims Busey's civil rights were violated when he was fired in January. Busey was let go after accusations of having an affair with a district employee and a month-long investigation that is now the center of the lawsuit's claims.

"We're not worried," said school board president Rick Jansons who is named as one of the defendants, along with the rest of the school board.

"The claims are going to be whatever they're going to be. Our attorneys will deal with whatever's in there and we followed the process," Jansons said.

"State law creates property interest of employment... That property interest is protected by the United States constitution and a hearing must be provided," said Busey's attorney Brian Iller.

The lack of a hearing is the crux of the lawsuit in which Busey is seeking in excess of one million dollars. Iller said about $880,000 of that is what the rest of Busey's contract would have paid out.

"That doesn't include his damages for the emotional distress, mental suffering and embarrassment that he's gone through due to the School District's conduct," Iller said.

The lawsuit claims the school district completed an investigation into Busey's affair and Busey was told his job was secure. Busey and his lawyer said the district then started another investigation after people started asking questions.

"I just think it's very unfortunate that the School District changed it's position after the initial investigation with the correct result and engaged in this secondary investigation to try to dig up dirt and find a reason to terminate Dr. Busey," Iller said.

District officials, however, said there was only ever one investigation.

"The lawsuit is not unexpected at all. The board is continuing to look forward. We're looking toward our new superintendent, we're looking forward to implementing the results of the bond election and we're looking forward to improving our district," Jansons said.

Iller said now that this lawsuit has been filed, both parties will now go through a 'discovery' process including depositions and testimonies under oath. Then this case will either go to court or a settlement will be reached.


PREVIOUS: (Jan 22, 2013)

RICHLAND, Wash.-- The Richland School Board decided Tuesday to terminate Superintendent Jim Busey's contract after reviewing the findings from an investigation into Busey's conduct.

The school board decided after a 90-minute executive session behind closed doors. The board came out to say they were disappointed in what they found out.

"The members of the Richland School Board are gravely disappointed to learn of the nature and the extent of Dr. Busey's failures," said Rick Jansons, Richland School Board President.

Those failures led to the firing of Richland Superintendent Jim Busey Tuesday.

The school board made that decision after reviewing the findings of an investigation into Superintendent Jim Busey's conduct with another district employee.

"Dr. Busey conducted a long-standing extra-marital sexual affair with a subordinate school district employee. This violated the terms of his contract," Jansons said.

Janson said Busey violated a moral clause in his contract.

The investigation also discovered that Busey pursued another romantic relationship with a woman he met through the school district.

The board also said he used school property inappropriately for personal reasons.

"His actions prevent him from being an effective leader in our district. He has lost the trust on the part of the board, the administration and staff," Jansons said.

The board unanimously passed a motion to end Busey's work as superintendent. The board also decided they will not offer Busey a pay out of his contract. Jansons says their decision to release Busey is effective immediately.

"This is not an easy thing to do. This is not something we wanted to do. We looked at all the options available and selected the option that was best for the district overall," Jansons said.

KNDU did try to make contact with Busey Tuesday afternoon, but did not get a response.

The school board is meeting again Tuesday night and said they may begin to discuss a time table for finding a replacement.