Duo drops wrongful firing lawsuits

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lynn Wright and Stacey Hester have dropped federal lawsuits that challenged their firings by the Lowndes County School Board.

Wright and Hester had filed state and federal lawsuit over their firings.

The Mississippi Supreme Court in May let stand a lower court ruling that upheld the firings of the two men.

Attorney Jim Waide, who represents the two men, told The Commercial Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1n0aRsL ) in light of the Supreme Court decision, he asked a federal judge in Oxford to dismiss the federal lawsuits. The lawsuits were dismissed in July.

Wright was appealing his firing in 2010 by the school board from his position as principal of New Hope High School principal. In a separate case, Hester, the former longtime New Hope baseball coach, also was fired in 2009 and sued the school district.

In 2012, Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom found Wright was wrongfully terminated. Colom awarded Wright $175,000 in back pay. Colom upheld the firing of Hester.

The state Court of Appeals last year reversed Colom's ruling in Wright's case. It upheld the firing of Hester.

The Supreme Court agreed to look at the appeals in February. In an order in May, the court changed its mind. It said it had reviewed the arguments and briefs and had dismissed the appeals. The order allowed the decision by the Court of Appeals to stand.

Wright was fired by the school board on May 17, 2010 for his purported role in Hester's alleged unauthorized purchase of a $15,000 lawn mower.

Wright is now superintendent of the Lowndes County School District.

Each separately sued the district in October 2011, alleging they were fired due to personality conflicts, namely with then-Superintendent Mike Halford and former board president Robert Buckley.

Hester was fired for purchasing a John Deere Fairway lawn mower for the school two years previously without approval.

According to court records, Halford said the purchase was illegal and done without the school board's authority and recommended the board fire both men.


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com

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