TPSD seeks sanctions against Ellis claims

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Oxford attorneys for the Tupelo Public School District on Friday asked a federal judge to sanction former teacher Calvin Ellis and his attorney, David Butts.
The filing claims Ellis and Butts made “legally and factually baseless complaint accusations” toward the district and its legal counsel, Kelly Stimpson and James A. Keith, basically saying Stimpson and Keith lied during Ellis’ job termination hearing in early 2012.
“The allegations of unethical conduct and actions tantamount to a criminal charge of subornation of perjury,” TPSD counsel David D. O’Donnell writes, “have no place in these pleadings” and violate rules of court.
Ellis, through Butts, sued TPSD, claiming five counts of wrongdoing surrounding his Oct. 28, 2011, firing.
The district denies the allegations.
Ellis asks for a jury trial, damages and attorney’s fees in his federal lawsuit.
He was fired after a student’s mother complained about a “prank” on her daughter’s car during a “hair and makeup night” for show choir members supervised by Ellis and his wife.
Butts could not be reached for comment late Friday.
Later Friday, Butts filed a motion asking the court to permit trial testimony by two minors, who testified during Ellis’ termination hearing.
The filing also argues that their allegations against TPSD counsel are not “legally and factually baseless.”
O’Donnell asks the court for monetary sanctions and an order requiring a second amended complaint without the allegations against their TPSD attorneys.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com