Noel Ayangma loses appeal in lawsuit against teachers' union

Court of Appeal upholds ruling that Ayangma's statement of claim didn't create any genuine issues that required a trial.

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 16, 2014
Noel Ayangma
Guardian file photo

A teacher who unsuccessfully sued the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation because it didn't file a grievance on his behalf will have to pay the union $5,000 after losing his appeal of a lower court decision.

In a unanimous decision issued May 15, the P.E.I. Court of Appeal found supreme court Justice John Mitchell was right when he ruled Noel Ayangma's statement of claim didn't create any genuine issues that required a trial.

Ayangma claimed the federation breached its duty of fair representation when it failed to file two grievances on his behalf against the former Eastern School District.

Those grievances were related to the terms of his teaching contract for the 2009-2010 school year and an alleged ban that kept him from applying for future teaching positions.

Ayangma had signed a release with the school board that prevented any further action, including grievances, and was paid $370,000.

Despite signing the release, Ayangma asked the federation to file grievances, which it determined wouldn't have been successful.

Ayangma filed the appeal on four grounds, including that Mitchell erred in his interpretation of the release and in his finding that the federation didn't breach its duty of fair representation.

Justice Michele Murphy wrote the decision, in which she said Mitchell was right in finding there was no fact that would have created an issue for trial and she agreed with his interpretation of the release.

Mitchell was also right in finding the federation didn't breach its duty of fair representation because the release kept it from filing a grievance.

The appeals judges concluded each of Ayangma's grounds for appeal failed and awarded $5,000 in costs, payable within 30 days of the decision.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

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