The Kansas City Public Schools must pay a former employee $403,139 for wrongful termination, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
In a 6-0 ruling, the court affirmed in part a judgment in favor of Cary Newsome, a former purchasing manager who sued the district in 2013 for wrongful termination.
A jury returned a verdict in favor of Newsome in 2014 and awarded $500,000 in damages. The district appealed the verdict and the damages.
On Tuesday the state court affirmed the verdict but reduced Newsome’s award, ruling the district’s liability coverage could not exceed $403,139 for a single claim.
Attempts to reach a district spokeswoman for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Newsome was represented in the case by Kansas City firm Siro Smith Dickson.
Attorney Eric Smith said Newsome was pleased with the ruling.
“It represents appropriate justice for him,” Smith said.
Newsome filed suit in 2013 for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
According to court documents, in June 2011 Newsome reported to a supervisor two questionable purchase requests he felt violated state law.
Days later, court records indicate, the district presented Newsome with the option of resigning and accepting $20,000 or face termination.
To receive the $20,000, Newsome had to sign an agreement that waived all claims he may have against the district. He signed the waiver that day and resigned but revoked his signature and rescinded his resignation three days later.
The district then fired Newsome, courts records indicate.
Newsome was hired by the Dallas Independent School District after his termination, Smith said.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “We’re really happy, but it’s been a long road.”