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Settlement sum remains undisclosed

By Justin Tubbs

A few questions remain in the now-settled civil suit of Cassandra Ortiz v. Ennis Independent School District. One question that’s yet to be answered is, “What amount did the former Lionettes instructor settle for?”

School board members have declined to comment on the settlement, and Ennis ISD officials and Ortiz’s lawyer have not returned phone calls, leaving the question unanswered.

A law correspondent for the EDN said the final amount Ortiz could have gained in court is much more than the $30,000 Ortiz says she wasn’t paid in overtime.

On Monday, Ortiz and her lawyer met with Ennis ISD in a mediation session. It was there the suit was settled out of court. Looking at the original complaint filed by Ortiz’s lawyer can give people an idea of what the former drill team instructor could have won had the case gone to court. Both sides have until July 12 to file final settlement papers with the court.

The various aspects of the civil suit accused Ennis ISD of violating three different statutes. The only statute with a clear figure attached involved the allegation that Ennis ISD violated wage and overtime requirements.

According to the suit, Ortiz was owed more than $30,000 in unpaid overtime. The suit asks for more than double that amount with liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and back pay added.

Ortiz also sued the district under a Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) statute and under “discrimination due to disability.” The legal correspondent said those portions of the suit were left vague as far as the amount Ortiz asked for. He said that could have been done purposefully if the strategy was to pursue and out of court settlement.

However, under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s discrimination statute, the school district could have been ordered to pay punitive damages up to $300,000 if the court found EISD guilty of discrimination. That amount would be in excess of whatever Ortiz collected under the other statutes.

Ortiz claims she was told by school officials not to return to work in October 2015 because she was unable to fully do her jobs as drill team instructor and paraprofessional due to a torn ACL and subsequent surgery. Ortiz held that she was able to do her job with reasonable accommodations.

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Posted by on Jun 24 2016. Filed under City news, News, School news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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