An appeal has been successful in an ongoing lawsuit against Hartland Consolidated Schools filed almost seven years ago by a former administrator.

Tracey Sahouri sued the district in 2012, alleging it violated the Whistleblower Protection Act when it removed her as principal from Creekside Elementary School. Sahouri claims her re-assignment to a teaching position was in retaliation for reporting “irregularities” in how the district administered state-mandated student achievement tests. The district contends Sahouri’s re-assignment was based on the conclusions of a state report that determined teachers at Creekside improperly gained access to material from the tests.

Discussions over a possible settlement in the case have failed including the district’s rejection of a three-member legal panel recommendation in 2011 that it pay a $525,000 pretrial settlement with Sahouri. Since then, several trial dates in Genesee County Circuit Court have been adjourned for various appeals. The latest was filed by the school district with the Michigan Court of Appeals in February, seeking the trial judge to issue decisions on its motions to dismiss the lawsuit and impose sanctions on Sahouri for her “failure to timely provide discovery of audio recordings” and her, “destruction of text messages.”

In a ruling issued March 7th, the Court of Appeal’s granted the district’s appeal, ordering the the trial judge to issue written orders on those motions by March 28th. While Hartland Superintendent Chuck Hughes declined to elaborate on exactly what the recordings and texts might contain, he did tell WHMI that, “There have been concerns brought forward which are being addressed by the courts.” (JK)