Ex-director of Riverview lays groundwork for lawsuit over firing

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Ex-director of Riverview lays groundwork for lawsuit over firing

By KATE CERVE kcerve@beaufortgazette.com 843-706-8177
Published Thursday, March 25, 2010   |  369 Words  |  news

Lawyers for the first director of Riverview Charter School filed for a protective order and bill of discovery last week to preserve and gather evidence that could be used in a lawsuit related to her abrupt firing.
Eleanore Bednarsh -- who was hired to lead the school in April and fired in December -- expects to file a civil suit seeking damages from several defendants, according to court documents filed March 16 and March 17 in the Court of Common Pleas of the 14th Judicial Circuit.
The documents list the charter school, the Beaufort County School District and the county Board of Education as defendants, in addition to several individuals.
All current and former Riverview board members are listed individually, as well as district superintendent Valerie Truesdale, county school board chairman Fred Washington Jr. and the district's human resources director, Jacqueline Rosswurm.
Bednarsh was fired halfway through her first year as Riverview's director because she failed to meet performance goals, officials said in January. She did not receive severance pay.
Bednarsh moved to Beaufort from New York City last year for the sole purpose of serving as Riverview's director, according to court documents. She previously worked for more than 25 years at New York private schools.
Bednarsh is unable to begin a civil suit now because she and her lawyers cannot determine which parties should be named defendants and what legal remedies are available, according to the complaint, dated March 16.
She and her lawyers are asking to begin discovery by accessing e-mails, voicemails, notes and other records related to Bednarsh and her employment, according to the complaint. They are requesting access to electronic storage devices, including personal computers and cell phones owned by the defendants.
The motion for a protective order asks the court to require the defendants to preserve and safely store all information that could be considered as evidence in Bednarsh's case.
Bednarsh's attorneys, J. Olin McDougall and A. Parker Barnes, declined comment Thursday. McDougall said Bednarsh had been advised not to comment.
Washington, Truesdale and Riverview spokeswomen Mary Foster also declined comment and said they had not yet been served a summons to respond to the complaint.