Tuesday, December 16, 2014


By City News Service from the LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/1qXW7ft

Posted: 12/15/14, 3:48 PM PST  ::  LOS ANGELES — A judge ruled today that a former Los Angeles Unified official who alleges that he was fired for complaining about the first settlements in the Miramonte Elementary School case will have to shore up his lawsuit before it can move forward.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin said there are not enough details in ex-LAUSD chief risk officer Gregg Breed’s complaint to support all of his allegations, particularly in the areas of retaliation, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt was sentenced to 25 years in prison for putting blindfolds on students, then photographing them with semen-filled spoons held to their mouths and 3-inch cockroaches crawling across their faces. He pleaded no contest to felony lewd acts on 23 children.

Breed filed his suit Jan. 23, alleging the initial series of settlements, for $30 million, were improper because Berndt never came into abusive contact with those children. The remaining cases were settled last month for $139 million.

Breed, a San Bernardino resident, asserts that he was a whistleblower, and his $14,440-per-month contract was not renewed in retaliation. He states that he found errors in the some of the student claims, including the lack of signatures verifying information, lack of Social Security numbers and the wrong names when compared to school classroom rosters.

But Fruin found that Breed’s lawsuit does not demonstrate how he meets the legal standard of someone who suffered an adverse employment action because he engaged in a “protected activity.”

Fruin also said that although Breed says he addressed his concerns with a reporter, there is no information in the lawsuit stating whether he explained to the media that he believed there was a violation of the law or that the alleged adverse actions against him took place after he provided the information to the press.

Fruin also said the lawsuit currently does not support Breed’s allegation that the LAUSD profited at his expense.

“There is no showing that (the district) was unjustly enriched, absent proof that defendant breached a contractual promise,” Fruin wrote.

In June 2013 the district has filed its own suit against Breed, alleging he should not have provided confidential Miramonte student information to the media. On Dec. 8, Fruin denied a motion by Breed’s lawyers to dismiss the case.

Documents filed by LAUSD attorneys state he was hired in March 2012 under a fixed-term agreement and that he was notified a year later that his contract would not be renewed. During his time with the district, Breed “had significant access to confidential and privileged documents and student information in the Miramonte sex abuse cases ...,” according to the LAUSD attorneys’ court papers.

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