Seeks to expand suit against school board
Former Booker T. Washington Academy principal Peggy Petrilli is accusing the Fayette County school board of defamation after it publicly released a wide-ranging investigative report accusing her of misconduct.
Petrilli filed a motion Monday to amend her reverse discrimination lawsuit in Fayette Circuit Court to include the report's author, school board attorney Brenda D. Allen, as a defendant. It also seeks to expand the lawsuit to include several new claims, including alleged defamation, conspiracy and abuse of process.
The school board made the 42-page report public earlier this month after the Herald-Leader filed an open records request.
A district spokeswoman called Petrilli's defamation claim "baseless."
"Ms. Allen's report is supported with documentation and numerous taped interviews, and the district will vigorously defend this baseless lawsuit," spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. "The facts of this case stand on their own." ...
...In the amended lawsuit filed Monday, Petrilli claims the school board "habitually makes numerous false allegations" against those it fires to increase litigation costs for the employee, complicate the case and increase the board's odds of prevailing against legal challenges...
...Golden has suggested that the report is nothing more than an attempt to discredit Petrilli's lawsuit. He noted that Silberman called the allegations against Petrilli a moot point in an August 2007 news report about her resignation. If the allegations were moot, Golden said, then why was the investigation conducted?
Deffendall has said the allegations were investigated because the district had promised to find answers for parents. The district also had an obligation to investigate allegations of wrongdoing it discovered during the investigation, she said. Petrilli filed her lawsuit in February. Deffendall has noted that the investigation began well before then, in September 2007.
The motion to amend Petrilli's lawsuit is scheduled to be heard Friday in Fayette Circuit Court. Such requests are almost always granted.
The amended lawsuit also accuses the school board of violating Petrilli's constitutional rights and violating state whistle-blower laws. The suit claims the report is retribution because Petrilli reported to an administrator that a student was no longer living in the school district...