Ex-Lafayette coach's lawsuit on hold awaiting decision


OXFORD – A former high school softball coach’s lawsuit is on hold while a magistrate judge considers dismissing it.
Last December, Catherine Papagolos sued her former employer, Lafayette County School District, claiming various constitutional rights were violated when she was fired.
In the lawsuit, Papagolos claims she was removed from her position as a coach after she questioned whether she received equal compensation for being a softball coach as the coach of the baseball team.
She also cites gender and age discrimination, free-speech and due process violations, as well as malicious interference with her ability to do her job.
She named the district, athletic director Jeff Nelson, and school board member Michael McPhail.
Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander ordered a stay on the lawsuit until she considers McPhail and Nelson’s claims they are protected by a legal doctrine known as qualified immunity.
That doctrine grants immunity from civil lawsuits to a public official performing a discretionary function, so long as the conduct does not violate clearly established constitutional or statutory rights.
The lawsuit asks for damages, including lost pay, back pay and other benefits.
Papagolos is also asking for punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

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