Judge dismisses La Joya ISD employee retaliation lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against La Joya Independent School District alleging employee retaliation after the 2012 board election.

In an order filed July 16, Judge Micaela Alvarez states the complaint is “very poorly drafted.”

legal“After a meandering recitation of very loosely set out facts as to each plaintiff, the complaint sets out what it identifies as “Factual Allegations” but which are nothing more than irrelevant facts and conclusory allegations,” Alvarez states.

Attorney Javier Peña, on behalf of more than two dozen plaintiffs, filed the original lawsuit in April 2014 in Hidalgo County. The plaintiffs all are school district employees who stated they were fired, demoted or retaliated against because they did not support Team Liberty, the winning slate in the 2012 election.

La Joya Independent School District, all of the individual board trustees and Flores were named as defendants in the suit, and attorneys for La Joya ISD moved the case to federal court in May 2014.

In the order of dismissal, Alvarez states the complaint gave no details on how or why the plaintiffs were retaliated against. Also, she states, there are no specific allegations against any one defendant. For example, she said the only reference to trustee Juan Jose “J.J” Peña is only mentioned in the paragraph stating his address, where he can be served.

Alvarez also notes Felipe del Angel, a plaintiff who was demoted from field supervisor at the child nutrition department to bus parts purchasing department to groundskeeper.

Del Angel “complains specifically of Defendant Oscar ‘Coach’ Coach Salinas but does not state what it is Defendant Salinas did,” Alvarez stated.

In a news release issued Wednesday, La Joya ISD spokesman Eden Ramirez called the lawsuit frivolous and stated Alvarez wrote a “scathing Order of Dismissal.”

“La Joya ISD is saddened that tax-payer money was used to defend the school district against these frivolous claims, but would like to remind parents and the community that teaching and transforming the lives of the children of this school district are our number one priority,” the news release states.

“Moving forward, La Joya ISD is looking at all options to ensure that taxpayers are not taken advantage in the future with frivolous claims like this.”

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