Tuesday, the board and Scott asked the U.S. District Court to order Argonaut Great Central Insurance Co. of Illinois, at a minimum, to cover its legal bills for Jamie Franks' allegations that the school district was liable for the alienation of affection of Franks' then-wife, Lisa.
Through its attorney R. Jarrad Garner of Ridgeland, the school board says its coverage exists with Argonaut against "wrongful acts" committed by any employee, board member or school district representatives.
On May 24, Argonaut filed a complaint with the North Mississippi court to force the school board to pay for the legal counsel the company provided after Jamie Franks threatened a lawsuit against Scott and the school district in July 2010.
A few days after Franks' threat, Scott sued Franks in circuit court of Lee County, accusing the Tupelo attorney of extortion, malicious interference with employment, defamation and negligence. Franks denied the accusations.
By August 2010, Argonaut claims it told the school district it may not be covered for the Franks claim.
After Franks asked for the Scott lawsuit dismissal and countersued Scott, Argonaut says it provided counsel "out of an abundance of precaution" while the legal actions were pending.
None of the documents show how much Argonaut's legal bill comes to.
"Because Mississippi law allows a direct claim of alienation of affection against an employer such as a school district," the district notes, "the school district arguably has a duty not to alienate the affections of someone's spouse."
Clearly, the district tells the federal court, Franks' allegation against the district meets the contract definition of "wrongful act" and requires coverage.
"Argonaut must fulfill its duty" to defend the district, it adds.
As for the Franks-Scott legal wrangling, retired Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City has been appointed a special judge on Scott's lawsuit and is expected to consider Franks' motion to dismiss.
Another motion to dismiss is pending on Franks' claims against Scott and the school district.