I’m pleased to report that we succeeded in persuading a federal appeals court this week to overturn a $55,000.00 fine imposed on a Florida public school employee for filing suit against the school system. The employee had alleged he was being harassed mercilessly by his boss, who wanted to have sex with the employee’s wife.
The employee’s lawsuit alleged that at one point, his boss had even plopped a large pile of cash down on the employee’s desk for the chance. The employee also alleged his boss was demanding that he find other women for the boss to have sex with as well – friends, waitresses, massage parlor clerks – whatever. The employee, devastated at the harassment toward he and his wife, eventually sued. Incredibly, his lawsuit ended with a $55,000.00 fine, with the judge declaring his suit frivolous. We handled the appeal, urged the court to overturn the fine, and learned this week that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, a high-level federal appeals court that oversees federal court proceedings in Alabama, Georgia and Florida, did exactly as we asked, and more. It wiped out every last dime of fees, also wiped out several thousand dollars in court costs, and on top of all that refused the school board’s demands for more fees and costs for responding to the the appeal. So the employee and his wife can begin rebuilding their lives, without the terrible burden of the fee and cost award.
The boss, for his part, did not fare so well, and wound up being arrested for soliciting prostitution. During the period of the alleged harassment, the employee sought help from law enforcement, believing the school system had failed to protect him against that boss. The sheriff’s office immediately set up a sting operation to catch the boss, and arrested him when he showed up at the employee’s house with $500.00 in his pocket, apparently believing his alleged sex-for-cash proposal was finally going to work. Sheriff’s detectives hiding inside the employee’s home had other plans for his evening.