A former Oak Ridge High School track coach who sued the Oak Ridge school system was awarded more than $1.7 million by a jury in federal court Monday.
John Edward Anderson sued the school system for wrongful termination, lack of due process and defamation of character following his dismissal in the spring of 2015. The lawsuit claimed Anderson, a track coach at Oak Ridge High School, had been called in to a meeting with then-ORHS principal David Scott April 13, 2015, to discuss allegations stemming from a trip to South Carolina. He was informed at that time he was being suspended from his coaching duties. A week later, his suspension was extended through May 11 and he was ordered to conduct a parents meeting.
When he met with Superintendent Bruce Borchers in late April, Anderson says he attempted to explain his side of the story but, the lawsuit claims, Borchers told him he was “not interested in the truth, only about the information the parents were getting from the internet regarding the trip.”
Anderson’s complaint alleged he was fired that day and escorted from the property, and as he was being led out, he was told an allegation of inappropriate contact with a student more than a decade before had been made.
The trial began March 11 and concluded Monday, with the jury awarding Anderson $1,751,097 in damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs.