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School district files response to Rude lawsuit in court

Published 6:51am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Austin Public Schools and former superintendent Candace Raskin are prepared to ask for a dismissal of school board member Curt Rude’s lawsuit.

The district and Raskin filed their joint response, which denied all allegations, in court Dec. 22. Superintendent David Krenz said the district will ask for a dismissal once the case is assigned a judge.

“Hopefully this can get done sooner than later,” Krenz said of the timeline.

Rude has not yet actually filed his lawsuit in court. He served the district with the six-count civil complaint in early November.

Rude’s suit alleges that Raskin made several defamatory and damaging statements about him. The school district is being sued under the contention that the alleged statements were made during Raskin’s APS employment.

The alleged statements date back to November of 2007, when an argument between Rude and Raskin on election night resulted in a written reprimand for Rude from police chief Paul Philipp.

On that same day, then police captain Rude allegedly removed prescription pills from the evidence room at the Austin Police Department.

The on-leave captain of the Austin Police Department was found guilty of felony drug possession and gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody by a jury in November, but he will not serve jail time nor have the felony on his record if he complies with his probation.

Rude seeks damages in excess of $50,000 with this suit, which is the minimum required to be attached to a civil lawsuit. His suit alleges defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention.

The district’s response states that “any and all statements which were made, were made in good faith, for a proper purpose, and under reasonable belief that they were necessary, lawful and called for under the circumstances.”

The district seeks to recoup all legal expenses from Rude.

Rude’s lawyer, Charles Bird of Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens, P.C. in Rochester, did not return a call for comment.

Timeline

MARCH of 2007 — Former KAAL-TV reporter Mark Johnson dies of a drug overdose, from the painkiller OxyContin.

NOV. 6, 2007 — Then police captain Curt Rude allegedly takes the painkiller OxyContin labeled “Mark C. Johnson” from the Austin Police Department evidence room. Rude is elected to the Austin Public Schools School Board with the second-most votes ever in a school board election. Rude and then superintendent Candace Raskin have controversial verbal exchanges at Austin High School while the election results are tallied. An investigation follows.

DEC. 17, 2009 — Rude is charged with felony drug possession, gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody and felony theft.

DEC. 18, 2007 — Rude is suspended without pay from his duties on the Austin police force.

JAN. 17, 2008 — Rude is issued a written reprimand from police chief Paul Philipp in regards to the exchanges between he and Raskin.

APRIL 30, 2008 — Raskin accepts a professorship position at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

MAY 12, 2008 — Raskin’s resignation as superintendent is official.

NOV. 5, 2009 — Rude is convicted of fifth-degree felony drug possession and gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody for allegedly taking the painkiller OxyContin from the Austin Police Department evidence room in November of 2007. He was acquitted of felony theft.

NOV. 6, 2009 — Rude sues Independent School District 492 and Raskin alleging defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention in regards to several statements allegedly made by Raskin.

NOV. 24 2009 — The district and Raskin deny every allegation in their response to the lawsuit.

DEC. 21, 2009 — Rude is sentenced in Olmsted County to five years probation and must perform 200 hours of community service. He will not serve jail time and will not have the felony on his record if he complies with his probation.

DEC. 22, 2009 — Austin Public Schools and former superintendent Candace Raskin file their response to Rude’s lawsuit in court.


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