The Durant Community School District has paid $45,923.45 to a Davenport law firm to fight its three-year legal battle against newly restored high school principal Monica Rouse, a lawyer with the firm said.

Cameron Davidson, a lawyer with Lane & Waterman, responded to a Quad-City Times’ Freedom of Information Act request, saying the amount reflects what the school district paid his firm from 2009 through June 2012.

Davidson said he responded to the request on behalf of his client, a public school district. He added he cannot release billing information for Employers Mutual Co., a private business providing insurance for the school district. He said the district has met its $5,000 deductible.

“What’s been paid by insurance is not public,” Davidson said. “I don’t believe the district has any record regarding what the insurance has paid. It has coverage for its legal expenses, and the legal expenses have been paid.”

Lesa Kephart, business manager for the school district, declined to be interviewed.

Rouse, who was escorted from school grounds Sept. 17, 2009, and terminated six months later, returned to her old post Tuesday after an appeal on her case went all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court. A district judge last week threatened the school board with jail time if it didn’t follow a court order to fully restore Rouse to her previous job.

The appeals were filed by lawyers for the school district, and at a cost not covered by insurance, Davidson said. The cost to file the appeals is included in the $45,923.45, he said.

Lawyers on both sides also have filed countless petitions and motions. Rouse’s petition for judicial review, filed April 20, 2010, in Cedar County District Court, has at least 40 motions attached to its case docket, online court records show. It was this petition that ultimately was challenged to the Supreme Court and decided in Rouse’s favor.

A total of 12 different petitions have been filed over the three years with about 50 or so motions in each case, according to Rouse’s attorney, Cathy Cartee of Davenport.

“I will give you my best estimate on the filings, but it was well over 100, probably closer to 500 different motions and filings,” Cartee said.

She added that 6,000 pages of exhibits and documents were sent to the Supreme Court.

Cartee said she did not wish to disclose at this time how much Rouse owes in legal fees. Rouse has a libel lawsuit still pending against the school board and seeks damages of an undetermined value.

The school board hired Matt Kingsbury for the 2010-11 school year after it terminated Rouse. When Kingsbury resigned, the board hired Tony Neumann for the 2011-12 school year while the board was appealing a district court’s decision to reinstate Rouse.

Rouse returned to the school of 250 students a few months after the district court’s decision in March 2011 and agreed she would stay home and receive her $81,000 annual salary plus benefits.

She returned to work again after the Supreme Court’s decision this year, only to work for several months out of an empty storage room in the elementary school wing. Meanwhile, the school board rehired Neumann for the 2012-13 year. The school board decided Monday night to make him co-principal of the K-8 program and keep Rouse as the high school’s sole principal.

The combined annual salaries of the two high school principals has cost the district at least $155,000. Now the district has two K-8 principals. Their combined annual salaries were not available.

(15) comments

Comment deleted.

Aren't you Dr Kenneth Tennant, Dr of Optometry and Chiroptractic, Bettendorf? You are litterally cutting and pasting from the same letter to the editor you've written to 10 other newspapers over the last few years.

Your ramblings have no bearing at all on this case.

ref

"Davidson said he responded to the request on behalf of his client, a public school district. He added he cannot release billing information for Employers Mutual Co., a private business providing insurance for the school district. He said the district has met its $5,000 deductible.

'What’s been paid by insurance is not public,” Davidson said. “I don’t believe the district has any record regarding what the insurance has paid. It has coverage for its legal expenses, and the legal expenses have been paid."

Mmmmm. . . .  This does not sound right.   
When I turn in a claim to my insurance, I know exactly how much it is.

I hope the QCT does not take this at face value.  Lane & Waterman should certainly be sending billing statements to the school district.  
Whether or not the payment is made from the district's general fund or their insurance carrier, the legal services are being supplied to the district.  The didtrict could be passing them to their insurance carrier for payment, but the district is the client.  They should have documentation of the charges.

QCT, don't let this go past you.  It seems they are hiding something.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Perfect example of a bunch of little tinhorn dictators who think they are above the law. They conducted their little vendetta at great expense to the taxpayer and against a court order. If we are to be a nation of laws the public officers must honor a court order. There is a place for dissent and civil disobedience. It is NOT for a school board to flagrantly disregard the order of the court. I hope those clowns are forced to serve their sentence.

Comment deleted.
bailaw
bailaw

Off topic as usual, you've been ranting this rant for years. Move on please.

opie1
opie1

When you have a pack of partisan hacks promoting their agenda the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. The sad thing-they still thought they were going to call the shots and proclaim we are the winner until they faced jail time for contempt. Just what planet do these fools like on that they actually believed a court ruling didn`t apply to them? They should all be removed and told to pay all these legal cost from your own pocket. Maybe before it`s all over they will. One win for the good guys, and a loss for the partisan hacks.

ref

If I read this article correctly, the district paid Lane & Waterman about $46,000 for legal services for appeals the insurance company did not cover. L&W also was paid for the initial work in the ALJ hearing and the first district court hearing, which was covered by insurance minus the $5,000 deductible (I think this $5,000 was included in the $46,000???).

Then there are the court costs. From the online court search I come up with:
EQCV034388   $185
LACV034533   $122,763.32
LACV034534 $1467.79
LACV034818 $685.00
LACV035018 $185
Sum $125,286.11


Obviously this is not included in L&W charge as this exceeds the $46,000 by about $80,000.
If the article is correct, the insurance is not covering the appeals process??? so who pays/paid this?
I think some of this may have been paid by Cartee who will be suing to recover this; but it gives a glimpse of future bills.

Then we have at least $12,000 for Cartee's fee for the contempt of court action.

Plus we have about $110,000/year (salaries plus benefits) for an extra administrator for three years (Kingsbury-1 year, Neuman-2)
Plus whatever they paid their administrators/staff to assume Rouse's duties during the 2009-2010 school year

Plus all the incidental costs: subs for staff to be interviewed, prepare for hearings, testify; .. . travel, food lodging for witnesses for the hearing; . . .personnel time that was used by all staff members, both certified and non-certified, . . . . .mailings, printings, filings.
Plus facilities costs for maintaining the buildings for longer times than normal.
Plus advertising costs, interviewing costs when they hired Kingsbury....

So it looks like they are already into it for about half a million?

Then there are the anticipated costs of Cartee's fees for the other four court actions (If L&W got $46,000 plus initial costs from insurance, we can expect at least that much from Cartee).

Plus....Any damages - that appears to be a foregone conclusion.
I don't know how their legal insurance policy reads. Is the $5000 deductible a yearly deductible, or by case number or by ....? But they either need to settle or keep paying legal fees to fight the other actions still pending.

This is not over.......

lost in crazyville

What I find absolutely terrible about this whole money thing is. We will never really know the true and final cost of it, because like you said the cost of copies, substitutes for teachers, paper, etc. and they are not even sorry for this. Money thrown out the window, for no reason, that could have been used for the kids in this community. I am sickened to know that this has cost our kids this much, when she asked in the first three months for the superintendent to settle with her for one years salary and a good reference and he said NO! so it would have cost what they were already paying her, and not one red cent from the kids. I would like to know what the board was thinking, what were they being told by their lawyers that made them dig there heals in and literally cripple the district financially and emotionally. Could they not see the damage they were causing, and what on earth could they think that she had done that would have even remotely justified this extreme behavior, she wasn't killing children or stealing money, I just don't get it, and they have no answers us.

Cubs17

This board has and still is setting a horrible example for the kids in this district. They should be ashamed of themselves for wasting so much time on something that appears to be a vendetta.

aequitas
aequitas

Wow. Judge Smith should have been asking these questions before he awarded attorneys' fees, in my opinion. Cathy Cartee asked for $21,863 in fees but was only awarded $12,000. Compared with the fees charged by Lane & Waterman, I would say that $21,863 was perfectly reasonable.

Sherman

Ya know, I have followed this story from the beginning, and it just amazes me the way this board, and the previous board, has conducted their business. Given...they hired a law firm to represent and advise them. There is no doubt in my mind that Ranio and the previous attorney had advised them of all the alternatives that they should consider in waging this battle aginst Rouse. The law firm would have spelled out the good and the bad of each option. The law firm made nom decisions on how to proceed without the boards approval. It was the school board who made the decision on what path to take and it was they who gave their lawyers their marching orders.


Those of you who want to blame the law firm for the way this turned out should use your critical thinking skills to see that the persons calling the shots for the school board, was the school board. The law firm is their employee in this case. They were carrying out the wishes/orders of the board. I am sure that Lane and Waterman would love to give their side of the story. However, there is that pesky client/attorney priviledge holding them back, Plus, L&W would not be getting many clients who would want to retain them if they disclosed what went on behind closed doors in this case.


However, the point of this article is the money spent by the board because they wanted to be bullies and follow in the lead of the pervious superintendant. If you added up all the money spent by the board fighting this war it would most likely pay for one or two teacher salaries and benefits and/or supplies, books, upgrade of technology, etc... This much money has to be precious to a small school/town like Durant. All I can see is that the board wasted a lot of money that could have been better spent someplace else rather than fighting a battle that became a moot point after the first administrative judge ruled in Rouse's favor.


The citizens of Durant has some very tough decisons to make in upcoming elections. I hope that they have some alternatives to consider when persons run for the school board in the next election.

JMHO

If I lived in this school district, I'd be furious over this boards actions.

waitingforsummer

I'd move.

Contemptio

“What’s been paid by insurance is not public,” Davidson said.

What will be the future Insurance Premiums? Who will pay for that? lol

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

I would think that the insurance premiums would go way up in light of the fact that this school board willingly chose to violate a court order. Sort of like an auto insurance company insuring a habitual speeding violator or drunk driver... definitely high risk. Also, the other shoe still has not dropped on how much the insurance company will have to pay for the libel lawsuit that is still pending. It would be nice to know if the premiums have gone up since this whole thing started in 2009. I would think there would have been an increase in 2011 and 2012. That information should be public since it is a direct cost to the taxpayers.

Acts25_16

Davidson is from Lane-Waterman, where they are, it is believed, exclusively occupied with details of predatory fraud. Where did the money come from to pay the insurance premiums ? The taxpayer. Public. Leave it to a law liar to twist the truth. These superintendents are paid enormous salaries. Who did the cost-benefit study ? Some educated idiot ? These school systems are raping US. This same lawyer/ firm represents the Bettendorf Schools where they lie on kids (unless the kids belong to Waterman, Wells, Jasper, or other lawyers/judges/frauds under color of law). They are bad role models who lawyer up with these unscrupulous creatures. You Tube: Lawless America & Legal Land to hear US. Vote "NO" to retain Iowa Judges (WATERMAN, ALPERS, et al)

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