Local teachers union drops lawsuit against board member

WWSB | by ABC7 Staff and Brianna Kwasnik | October 14, 2020 

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – The Sarasota County teacher’s union has dropped their lawsuit against school board member Shirley Brown. The lawsuit alleged her 2018 mailers contained false and defamatory statements against the union.

The Sarasota Classified/ Teachers Association initially filed the suit Aug. 28, 2019.

According to court documents, a jury trial was set for Feb. 22. However, on Oct. 6, there was a notice of dismissal filed, stating the lawsuit had been dropped.

The initial filing states that an election mailer sent out by Brown stated “Labor Unions have illegally spent $71,449.30 trying to elect Karen Rose.”

SC/TA informed Brown of the false and defamatory material on Feb. 14, 2019, and Brown had not retracted her statement in the more than six months period before the union filed, according to the lawsuit.

Brown had previously asked the union to drop the lawsuit in the spirit of the new year, and with a new superintendent coming in, which they had not previously agreed to do.

“Her [Brown’s] deposition makes it clear that the money used by SC/TA to pay for mailers in 2016 was not illegal money like her mailer stated,” said Pat Gardner, president of the union.

“We feel that with a new superintendent, it is time to move forward in a positive way for our classrooms and students,” Gardner added.

Photo: Sarasota County School Board photo of Shirley Brown. (Source: Sarasota County School Board)

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