Both parties announced they were ready to settle; however, they’re still debating whether the funding needs legislative approval.
Guam – After several months of litigation, attorneys in the Fernandez v. Guam Education Board announced that they were seriously pursuing settlement as an option.
Last year, the board voted to terminate Fernandez based on several allegations, some of which involved sexual misconduct. The case drew public outcry mostly in support of Fernandez and it’s even argued to have cost the re-election of at least one senator.
Fernandez then sued the board and the individual members who voted to fire him for a total of $7 million in damages.
Today at District Court, GDOE’s legal representation argued that the settlement is pending approval from the legislature. In February of this year, the board agreed to pay the $60K in attorney’s fees racked up by the superintendent.
However, Fernandez’s Attorney Delia Lujan Wolfe was of the opinion that the board doesn’t need the legislature’s approval, citing past examples for reference.
In light of this, Chief Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood suggested that the parties seek legislative advice from either Speaker BJ Cruz or Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje in order to move the case along.
In a statement to PNC, Speaker Cruz said:
“As has always been my policy, I do not comment specifically on matters presently or potentially under litigation. To date, no bill has been introduced or publicly heard proposing to adopt the settlement crafted by GDOE. Until that point, this matter is not before the Legislature.”
And if the parties are indeed serious about a settlement, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood set the next Status Hearing for August 25 at 9am.
If not, she said the court was prepared to begin depository hearings sometime early September.