Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Poplin, school district settle case for $42,000

March 12, 2008

Former Baldwin High School principal Allen Poplin has reached a settlement for a lawsuit he filed against the Baldwin School District.

Poplin settled for $42,000. He had originally sought in excess of $1 million, claiming discrimination based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act after his contract was non-renewed three years ago. He also claimed invasion of privacy in his lawsuit.

The Baldwin School Board approved the settlement 5-0 at Monday's meeting. Two board members were absent. The district's insurance company, AMCO, will pay $21,000 and the district the same. The settlement states the district denies any liability in Poplin's claims.

"It's a good deal for the district," said Bob Bezek, the district's attorney. "When he's come down from $1.2 million to basically $21,000 to the district, that's good."

If the case had continued to trial - a date had been set for September - the district would have spent much more money, Bezek said, and couldn't be assured of what outcome a jury would deliver. However, he did think the district's position with the non-renewal was a good one.

"I feel good about the board's decision and decision-making process," he said. "I think we would have been successful at trial. I also think it's true that to prevail, the district would have to spend at least as much to settle.

"In my mind, since it's public money, if you can get out for a voided cost, you should do it," said Bezek. "It's a lesser cost than going to trial."

The board voted 6-1 three years ago to non-renew Poplin's contract. He took over as principal at BHS in the late 1990s after serving as assistant principal for years.

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