Attorneys for Don Colquitt, the former assistant coach at Oak Ridge High School under Coach Joe Gaddis, have announced that the lawsuit filed by Colquitt has finally been settled for an undisclosed amount. Colquitt had been the head football coach at Jefferson Middle School before being hired by Gaddis to lead the
In 2014, Colquitt was suspended and ultimately terminated for what the school board said was “inappropriate contact with a student.” Colquitt, however, was never given any hearing on the alleged complaint and there appeared to be no real investigation into the allegation by the school board. Unable to make sense of the allegation and now without employment, Colquitt sought legal counsel and filed a complaint against the school board in the Anderson County Circuit Court. Ultimately, Circuit Judge Mike Pemberton from Roane County, sitting by interchange, ruled that the school board’s termination of Colquitt was without good cause,
stating the school board “did not follow or really even attempt to follow” its own policies and procedures. In that same ruling, Judge Pemberton found that the school board was liable to Colquitt on his claims. Colquitt was represented by Bob Knoelton and Bruce Fox.
After that ruling, the parties were able reach a settlement. Attorney Bruce Fox states that the settlement is a recognition that Colquitt was treated unfairly. “I am happy that we were finally able to resolve the case. It certainly helped that Judge Pemberton had already ruled that Don’s rights were violated and there was no cause for his termination,” says Fox. “Don certainly wanted to just get this behind him and move forward with his life. His hope is that he can get back to working with and mentoring kids in Oak Ridge the way he has done most of his life. My hope is that the school board has learned that it can’t drag someone through the mud for no reason and expect no consequences.”