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On Thursday August 13, 2015 the law firm of Geragos & Geragos filed a detailed 91-page cause of action on behalf of nationally acclaimed Hobart Elementary school teacher Rafe Esquith against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). More specifically, and in addition to suing LAUSD as a legal entity, the lawsuit also names as individual defendants Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines, Chief Legal Officer David R. Holmquist, and 50 John Does to be subsequently named after they are identified through the discovery process—a process now open to the plaintiffs to finally compel LAUSD administrators and others to tell the truth or face serious and costly- both financial and personal—legal consequences for failing to do so.

LAUSD Judgment Day

In filing this lawsuit, the Geragos firm is in for a pleasant surprise, since it will soon find as the case unfolds that LAUSD and its corrupt and long bullying administration have literally made no attempt to cover up any of their reprehensible behavior toward Esquith or any of its other unjustly targeted employees. And that literally nobody in LAUSD administration has every had any good faith belief that the vast majority of teachers they have targeted have done anything wrong. Rather, to quote Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone in The Godfather, what will become perfectly clear is that, "It's just business."

LAUSD's witch hunt has been about money and has had nothing to do with "child safety" as claimed by both Superintendent Cortines and his predecessor and now Broad Foundation employee John Deasey.

As the trial progresses and LAUSD's usual stall tactics—that have served them so well against defenseless teachers abandon by their union United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA)—fail against a Geragos law firm with the bank to go against them toe to toe for the long run, what will become abundantly clear in this first neutral forum to dispassionately exam LAUSD's claims against its senior teaching staff is that the charges in the vast majority of cases are completely fabricated and based exclusively on the totally illegal motive of targeting teachers at the top of the salary scale, and/or about to vest in expensive lifetime health benefits, and/or disabled, and/or teachers like Esquith who stood up against ill-conceived and often downright illegal programs.

Simply stated, LAUSD's witch hunt has been about money and has had nothing to do with "child safety" as claimed by both Superintendent Cortines and his predecessor and now Broad Foundation employee John Deasey. And I can not help but wondering if John Deasey might also be one of the to be named John Does 1-50 in this lawsuit.

Furthermore, as more evidence is gathered in the Esquith case, a class action suit is likely to be filed or at the very least many more lawsuits like Esquith's, since a pattern and practice of illegal behavior will clearly emerge. What it will shows is literally thousands of other certificated or classified staff that bullying LAUSD administrators and their coerced subordinates either forced into early retirement or brought up on knowingly false charges.

Where this case is likely to break wide open is when some of the coerced administrators, who at the behest or threat of their superiors finally speak up to save themselves about knowingly and with malice aforethought going after completely innocent teachers. Some candidates that the Geragos firm might choose take depositions from are those presently being fired by Superintendent Cortines.

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Already in the pleading filed by Geragos & Geragos on behalf of Rafe Esquith, clearly illegal activity has been alleged that literally thousands of targeted teachers can substantiate and which LAUSD has no evidence to counter. In fact, the evidence clearly and convincingly substantiates what the Esquith lawsuit states:

  • No exculpatory evidence of teacher innocence or good behavior was allowed to remain in the teacher's file in a one-sided process only designed to ultimately get rid of the teacher;
  • Teachers were systematically submitted to "psychological torture" in longterm "teacher jail" incarceration that not only had no reason to exist in a purposefully protracted "investigation process," which was ultimately dispensed with even before LAUSD decided to resurrect it against Rafe Esquith;
  • In complete derogation of the legal standard establish in the tragic McMartin Preschool case, where all teachers and administrators were ultimately found to be completely innocent of any wrongdoing, rules were established as to what permission needed to be obtained from parents prior to student questioning, who was qualified to question impressionable students, and neutrality of questions to not lead highly impressionable youth into a preconceived result. In the Esquith case and in literally thousands like it, LAUSD administrators purposefully chose to ignore these legal standards in interrogating students without parents permission, where questions suggested the predetermined answers sought by people—principals—who were completely unqualified to question the students that they improperly and illegally manipulated.
  • And in typical bully behavior, any attempt by Esquith or other targeted teachers to defend themselves against clearly fabricated and disproven charges only seems to inspire LAUSD in a long established and verifiable practice to just pile on more and more serious charges that inexplicably were never brought until the teacher tried to defend themselves.

But there might just be a silver lining to the regrettable situation in which LAUSD now finds itself. When one looks at the likely astronomical damages in the billions that LAUSD faces in the Esquith case and the thousands likely to follow, maybe LAUSD can take a page from the City of Detroit bankruptcy in making lemonade out of its lemons. If LAUSD is ultimately forced into bankruptcy, they might just get out of ALL their contractual liability for wages, benefits, and retirement programs, which after all seems to have been the reason they started the witch hunt against senior certificated and classified employees in the first place back in 2006.

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Leonard Isenberg