By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A war of legal documents continues in Calvin Ellis’ civil lawsuit against Tupelo Public School District.
Ellis, a former TPSD choral director, sued in late 2012, claiming he was wrongfully fired after a 2011 parent’s complaint about an alleged prank on a student’s car during a pre-show event for choir members supervised by Ellis and his wife.
Most recently, Ellis and the district traded jabs over calls for sanctions and to dismiss the lawsuit.
Tuesday, the federal court set an April 30 deadline for Ellis to respond to the district’s motion to find in its favor.
March 23, Ellis’ attorney David Butts of Tupelo contends TPSD should be sanctioned, not his side, whom the district insists lied that its witnesses at his termination hearing testified falsely or that its attorneys should have known THEY did so.
He terms the original TPSD motion for sanctions “blatantly frivolous, vexatious, harassing and burdensome,” saying it’s a “method of intimidation.”
Five days later, the district’s attorneys asked the court to find in its favor, saying Ellis did not appeal his termination to chancery court, as required by state law, and that his breach-of-contract claims should be discounted.
Ellis cannot sidestep the appeal requirement and go to federal court, TPSD’s filing insists.
He also should not be allowed to “re-litigate” the issues decided by the TPSD school board when he was properly terminated, the district claims.