Los Angeles school district sexual harassment case in trouble?

A senior employee at the Los Angeles Unified School District is now denying he has agreed to a settlement with the school district for $200,000 in a lawsuit he filed against the district. The complaint accuses the former superintendent of the school district of sexual harassment. The plaintiff alleges he was taken by the defendant to his ranch north of Los Angeles in July 2010, where the superintendent made unwanted sexual advances.

The district recently announced to the media that a settlement had been reached in the case. However, lawyers representing the 56-year-old male employee claim the district made the announcement prematurely since no paperwork had been signed.

The 79-year-old former-Superintendent denies the allegations against him, saying there was no sexual harassment. He goes on further to claim that the there was only consensual "adult behavior" between the plaintiff and him.

Along with the $200,000 settlement, the district said it has agreed to pay the plaintiff lifetime medical benefits valued at anywhere between $250,000 and $300,000. But attorneys for the plaintiff say that's not what their understanding is of the deal. They say they believe lifetime benefits are supposed to be $50,000 more than what was reported in the news.

A lawyer for the district claims the announcement was made based on the understanding of a verbal acceptance of the settlement and that the district intends to stand by it. However, the district's attorney also made it clear that if the settlement falls apart, then it is ready to move forward on the matter. Whether that means the district is prepared to move ahead with taking the matter to court is unclear.

Source: The New York Times, "Los Angeles School District's Settlement in Sex-Harassment Case Is in Dispute," Jennifer Medina, May 30, 2012

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