Lawsuit filed by former Phenix City superintendent dismissed

Lawsuit filed by former Phenix City superintendent dismissed

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The legal battle between ousted Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara did not work in his favor on Monday.

The former Superintendent of the Year for the State of Alabama was hoping the judge would reconsider an earlier motion declaring he does not have jurisdiction over the case.

After 20 minutes of hearing both sides argue their cases, Judge Al Johnson reaffirmed his initial decision concerning his authority in the case. Judge Johnson stated in court he's had several previous cases reversed because the higher court ruled the school board has immunity and cannot be sued.

"The board does have immunity. I think there are a lot of cases that say you can't sue the board itself, but you can sue the board members, but they give you certain examples of when you can sue the board and I think we fall into that," explained DiChiara's attorney Knox Argo of Montgomery.

Both sides are at odds over benefits including heath care costs and perks DiChiara said the board is refusing to provide him which he feels he is entitled to under his contract.

"If you look at DiChiara's contract, one of the benefits is there supposed to pay him $750 a month an automobile allowance…that's obviously liquidated, and his salary that's figured and there's something where they say, we're supposed to provide health insurance—we know how much they pay each month…that's liquidated so, there's one in there that says the board is supposed to provide him an annual physical and that's not liquidated because you can't say how much a doctor will charge," added Argo.

DiChiara first filed a lawsuit back in December 2013, following the board's decision in November to unilaterally discontinue his contract.  In that case, he asked the judge for a temporary restraining order not to cut off his pay and benefits because the board failed to give him a 60 day termination notice.

DiChiara is currently receiving no payment from the board from the $750,000 contractual agreement for the 4 and a half year buyout in his contract.

In the meantime, Argo says after receiving the judge's written notice from Monday's hearing, they will likely file an appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court.

The attorney representing the school board declined to comment.