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SMA Board of Directors Treasurer Capt. Fred Derr presens former SMA Prep Head of Schools Phillip Eddy with a ceremonial saber Aug. 2, 2014.
Sarasota Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 1 year ago

Sarasota Military Academy lawsuit moves forward

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A special magistrate has recommended denying Sarasota Military Academy’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former administrator.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Former Sarasota Military Academy Prep Head of School Phillip Eddy’s lawsuit against the school will likely continue, a judge has recommended the denial of a motion to dismiss the case.

“None of SMA’s arguments are (sic) provide reasonable grounds for dismissal,” wrote Magistrate Deborah Bailey, of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, in the recommended order filed last month.

In the lawsuit filed in March in the 12th Judicial District Court, Eddy alleged the academy’s Board of Directors and staff in 2014 lured him away from a lucrative job in Kuwait with false promises of a pay bump and long-term position. Click here to read the full complaint.

The board terminated Eddy’s contract the following year, according to minutes of a July 15 meeting.

In an amended legal complaint filed in August, Eddy’s counsel alleges more than $15,000 in damages based on a range of complaints, such as contract fraud related to verbal promises from SMA Commandant and CFO Frank Laudano and SMA Board of Directors Vice President Herb Jones, allegedly made in March 2014 regarding a long-term relationship and 10% raise for the 2014-2015 school year. Those promises were never fulfilled, according to lawsuit.

The complaint further alleges SMA violated Eddy’s 14th Amendment rights because he was allegedly not allowed due process to defend himself before his firing.

In SMA’s motion to dismiss Eddy’s lawsuit filed in September, attorney David Wallace, who is representing SMA, contended Eddy was nothing more than an at-will employee, meaning he could be fired without cause, and that portions of the legal complaint weren’t specific enough for a response.

“There is no constitutionally protected property interest when the employee serves at the will of the employer with no guaranteed employment,” Wallace wrote in the motion.

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