Here's an article from Saturday's paper about the Cheryl Coryea case:
By Elliot Mann / emann[at]postbulletin.com
The lawyers for the Rochester school district on Friday morning made their case for why an Olmsted County judge should dismiss the case of Cheryl Coryea, a former employee who has accused the district of reverse discrimination.
Now, Judge Jodi Williamson has 90 days to decide whether to hear the case.
Coryea served as the financial director of Rochester public schools from 2005 to January 2008, when she was fired. She alleges that Superintendent Romain Dallemand fired her in retaliation for exposing discriminatory hiring practices. Coryea also claims that those practices have continued.
Attorneys Marnie DeWall and Nancy Vollertsen argued the school district's position, saying that Coryea waited too long to file her charges. They reasoned that the statute of limitations ran out by the time Coryea filed her suit on May 14.
But attorneys Todd and Scott Johnson, who are representing Coryea, asserted that the timeline changed when Coryea filed a charge of discrimination with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in October 2008.
In December 2008, the state Department of Human Rights decided not to hear the case. Attorneys on both sides have different reasons for that: Vollertsen has said there wasn't evidence to substantiate the claims, while Todd Johnson said the department wasn't the appropriate place to review the allegations.
Also affecting the timeline, in the opinion of Coryea's attorneys, is attempted mediation between the district and Coryea. Those sessions, which started in May 2008, ended up fruitless.
Coryea previously alleged that Dallemand refused to hire non-minority candidates for a wellness director position and fired Coryea after she brought that to the attention of the district's legal counsel.
Her attorneys filed an amendment complaint on July 22, alleging other misconduct. Those claims include information about Dallemand's $5,000 desk, which has drawn considerable criticism for nearly two years.
According to the complaint, once news became public about the custom-made desk in fall 2007, Dallemand directed the desk to be stored at a location off school district grounds. Coryea contended that she notified the superintendent that public property could not be stored off-site.
The amended complaint also alludes to an alleged incident in July 2008. The complaint states that "Dallemand and others under his supervision" attempted to hire an assistant principal at Bamber Valley Elementary School who was eventually denied a principal's license by state officials. The allegations say that the minority candidate was less qualified than the most-qualified candidate, who was white.
Coryea was not employed by the district during that time.