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School District Five Board offers to dismiss counterclaims against former Board member with stipulations for compliance

School Board Press Release – April 9, 2019

 

School District Five Board offers to dismiss counterclaims against former Board member with stipulations for compliance

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to make an offer to dismiss its counterclaims against Kim Murphy, a former board member who initiated multiple lawsuits against the district, with a stipulation that Murphy would agree that she would not file any legal action against the school district and its officials for the next five years without complying with several prefiling procedures.

The proposal is an effort to resolve a 2013 suit brought by Murphy.  Her claims in that suit have been resolved in the school district’s favor.  However, the district’s compulsory counterclaims against her remain pending.

 

School District Five attorney John Reagle said the case is nearing trial and that the offer is “an effort to promote resolution to this matter, taking into account a resolution that protects the district, students, and taxpayers from further wasteful and unnecessary litigation as well as protecting Ms. Murphy’s constitutional rights.”

 

“Much has been said about the district ‘bullying’ Ms. Murphy,” said Reagle. “However, as alleged in the District’s counterclaims, her actions deprived the students of the timely use of new and improved facilities at Chapin High School. Just as the school district would seek to hold anyone accountable for damages to school property caused by their improper and disruptive acts…the School Board was obligated as stewards of the school district’s resources and assets to protect its students’ and taxpayers’ interests to hold Ms. Murphy accountable for the consequences of her abusive appeals and lawsuits in pursuit of her personal interests.”

 

The motion, made during the April 8 School Board meeting, included a statement that “Kim Murphy initiated multiple lawsuits against School District Five, including a suit seeking to prevent the District’s approved development of Chapin High School around June 2010.”  The counterclaims demand is based upon the district’s 2012 determination that the delays and expenses resulting from Murphy’s claims resulted in more than $10 million in unnecessary additional costs on the school district and taxpayers. The offer by the district will remain open until April 18, 2019.

 

If she accepts the offer, the counterclaims would be dismissed.  In exchange for that dismissal, Murphy would agree that she would not file any legal action, including, but not limited to any petition, motion, complaint, appeal, extraordinary writ or other matter against School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties (“School District”) or any of its officials, agents or employees in any state or federal court, including any Administrative Law Court or Administrative Agency, without complying with several prefiling procedures.

 

Murphy initiated multiple actions seeking to have permits necessary for constructing additions and improvements at Chapin High School denied by DHEC and the Army Corps of Engineers.  The Courts ruled against her in each instance, and DHEC and the Army Corps of Engineers granted the necessary permits.  The permits were received by the School District after Murphy’s legal actions “significantly delayed the development of the student facilities at Chapin High School; deprived the students at Chapin High School of the benefits of the upgraded facilities for two years,” according to the motion made by Trustee Ed White during the April 8 Board meeting.

 

Murphy was elected to a Richland County seat on the School Board in November 2010 and was pursuing the legal action to oppose the district’s requests for permits for the Chapin High School site while she was serving on the School Board.  Subsequently, Murphy was removed from the School Board after the courts ruled she did not live in the county she represented.

 

April 8, 2019 Board Meeting - Motion

 

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