Circuit Judge Sam Pope on Monday ordered the Warren School District to pay two Southeast Arkansas attorneys more than $90,000 for their representation of a wrongly terminated teacher.
Monticello attorney Cliff Gibson and Crossett attorney Robert Gibson successfully defended Col. Robert Avery in a criminal case, a wrongful termination case, a teacher license case, and a Department of Human Services maltreatment case.
Pope originally calculated the attorney fees at $51,041 for their defense of Avery, a Warren School District ROTC teacher. But upon further review, Pope determined that the attorneys were working on a contingency fee in the wrongful termination case and are entitled to 40 percent of $225,269.68, the amount of back-pay they recovered for Avery.
The Warren School Board terminated Avery’s teaching contract in 2010 after Avery was charged with first-degree sexual assault of a 16-year-old female student.
During the intervening 20-month period between Avery’s termination hearing and his appeal of the school board’s decision, a jury acquitted Avery of the sexual assault charges, an administrative law judge dismissed allegations against Avery in an Arkansas Department of Human Services maltreatment case, and the Arkansas Department of Education dismissed the Warren School Board’s complaint to revoke Avery’s teacher’s license.
Considering the work of Avery’s attorneys, particularly in the appeal and the continuing benefits accruing to Avery as a result of that work, Pope said he finds that the reasonable attorney fees in the case is $90,107.87.