P.E.I. Court of Appeals dismisses teacher's lawsuit

Ryan Ross
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Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island

A former vice-principal at Donagh Regional School who was removed from her administrative duties has lost her fight with the former Eastern School District in P.E.I.’s courts.

Jo-Anne Lanigan claimed damages for breach of employment contract, wrongful dismissal and refusal to hire her for vice-principal or guidance counselor positions, but a P.E.I. Supreme Court judge declined to hear the case.

Lanigan appealed and in a unanimous decision the P.E.I. Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling.

In the appeal decision released today, Justice John Mitchell wrote that P.E.I.’s supreme court has no jurisdiction to hear the case because the collective bargaining agreement has a binding dispute resolution mechanism.

Lanigan was the former vice-principal at Donagh Regional School in 2009-2010 until an issue arose between her and the parents of a special needs child.

The school board removed her from her duties as vice-principal after she wrote letters to the parents in response to comments they made that she considered to be defamatory.

Lanigan tried to file a grievance with the P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation, but the time period for filing had expired.

Although Justice Wayne Cheverie, who made the initial decision, ruled the supreme court had jurisdiction to hear the case, he declined to do so.

Mitchell wrote that Cheverie made an error of law and the court did not have jurisdiction.

The collective bargaining agreement sets out the grievance procedure and allowing the case to proceed in the courts would undermine the legislative scheme set up in the School Act, Mitchell wrote.

He also wrote that the grievance review board has the power to grant “full and effective remedy.”

In dismissing the appeal the appeal judges ordered Lanigan to pay $10,000 in costs.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Donagh Regional School, P.E.I. Supreme Court, P.E.I. Court of Appeals P.E.I. Teachers

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Island Boy
    March 09, 2014 - 10:14

    PEI Teacher's Federation comments are n line with their support ... still "absent". All the Federation funds spent on advertising and trying to raise your own "in house Federation" salaries are wasted if you do not at least support your contributing members. You are now in your usual stance ... "exposed" with mouths open and action "non existent".

  • City Boy
    March 08, 2014 - 09:30

    JFK: Be nice, Kennedy has a valid comment. As a matter if interest it was NOT the wrong Court rather her situation was NOT adequately or correctly addressed by PEI Teacher's Federation. At the time, Federation procedures were not in place to handle either of the TWO possible grievances (one of which was well within time allowances) but was "denied" solely by the actions of a single Federation executive member. Also note, there is still a case before the Courts filed against PEI Teachers' Federation for representation. So where was representation from PEI Teachers Federation?

  • City Boy
    March 08, 2014 - 09:29

    JFK: Be nice, Kennedy has a valid comment. As a matter if interest it was NOT the wrong Court rather her situation was NOT adequately or correctly addressed by PEI Teacher's Federation. At the time, Federation procedures were not in place to handle either of the TWO possible grievances (one of which was well within time allowances) but was "denied" solely by the actions of a single Federation executive member. Also note, there is still a case before the Courts filed against PEI Teachers' Federation for representation. So where was representation from PEI Teachers Federation?

  • JFK
    March 08, 2014 - 04:00

    w kennedy: your posts are ways ridiculous on here, your an opinionated, ignorant, fool. What do you not understand about the case? She took it to the wrong court and caused court fees. She needs to repay those fees. It's the way the world works. Welcome to reality, you should go there some time.

  • CITY BOY
    March 07, 2014 - 18:56

    WHERE WAS PEI TEACHERS' FEDERATION?

  • Island Boy
    March 07, 2014 - 18:22

    This is JUSTICE??? The individual involved broke no regulations and was left to defend herself by "the system". So much for justice on PEI.

  • w kennedy
    March 07, 2014 - 15:00

    $10,000 and unemployed???