Further Court Action Looms In Mary Ellen Johnson Case

Preparations are underway for the next legal battle in the long judicial saga of Mary Ellen Johnson v. the Sandwich School Committee.

Dr. Johnson, the former Sandwich superintendent of schools, has said that she is not satisfied with the size of the $434,600 settlement she won in Barnstable Superior Court. She has said her damages actually total close to $3 million.

The former superintendent also has said that she is not happy that she, rather than the Town of Sandwich, has been saddled with her legal bills from the lawsuit.

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Dr. Johnson dismissed her former attorney and had been representing herself for the past several months.

Court records show that the former superintendent now has retained the Boston law firm of Shaevel & Krems, which specializes in employment law.

Records further show that Dr. Johnson and her attorneys plan to further argue the case in Barnstable Superior Court rather than appeal the matter to the next step up the legal ladder, the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

On May 12, Daniel S. O’Connor and Scott D. Carman, a partner and associate at Shaevel & Krems, filed a motion to alter or amend the $434,600 judgment in the case.

The board of selectmen had scheduled an hour-long executive session at last night’s meeting to discuss litigation strategy in the case.

In a ruling last year, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse found that the school committee in 2010 had improperly terminated Dr. Johnson’s employment contract and that she was entitled to damages.

Judge Muse proceeded to calculate the damage judgment at $434,600. He also declined to compel the town to pay Dr. Johnson’s legal costs.

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