The former vice principal at Brookings-Harbor High School has filed a $750,000 lawsuit against former district Superintendent Sean Gallagher and five Brookings-Harbor School Board members.
In court documents, Mark Hebert alleges that Gallagher and school board members Katherine Johnson, Bruce Raleigh, Alan Nidiffer, Jay Trost and Sue Gold violated his civil rights by unlawfully forcing him to resign March 14.
Hebert had been vice principal at the high school since July 2018.
The lawsuit, filed July 29 in U.S. District Court in Medford, said Raleigh, Nidiffer, Johnson, Trost and Gold, individually or collectively, advised Gallagher that the board did not intend to renew his contract for the 2019-20 school year, and that Gallagher was to get Hebert’s resignation - without formal notification or non-renewal, and without having the matter come before the Brookings-Harbor School Board.
Hebert said in the lawsuit that Gallagher met with him March 14 and said the school board “wanted him out and he needed to resign or his career would be seriously jeopardized.”
Hebert said he was “shocked” by Gallagher’s statement, since neither the School Board nor Gallagher had spoken with him about performance issues or even had a professional conversation with him about his employment.
Hebert said in the lawsuit that he resigned as directed, based on threats communicated by Gallagher.
Hebert is alleging he has suffered lost income and other benefits. Hebert said he also has suffered personal and emotional distress, and damage to his professional reputation.
Salem attorney Loren Collins is representing Hebert and said the lawsuit seeks $250,000 in in economic damages and $500,000 in non-economic damages.
“The next step will be that we will ask the defendants to waive formal service of process,” Collins said. “After service of the summons and complaint or waiver of service, the defendants will file an answer to the complaint. Then, both sides will exchange initial disclosures of documents ….”
The Pilot’s repeated requests to the attorney representing the Brookings-Harbor School District for responses to specific questions concerning the lawsuit have gone unanswered,
Meantime, Gallagher resigned as superintendent on July 5.
School board members Raleigh and Gold completed their terms in June.