Judge dismisses lawsuits against Bentonville schools

Posted: March 12, 2018 at 4:10 p.m.

Bentonville School District administration building.

BENTONVILLE -- A judge today dismissed both lawsuits Bella Vista resident Jim Parsons had filed against the Bentonville School District.

He acted as his own attorney for both cases, and Benton County Circuit Judge John Scott twice advised Parsons that he could hire a lawyer to handle his legal representation.

Parsons filed a lawsuit last year concerning a sign opposing the millage in the May 2017 election. Parsons said he met a reporter for a television station at the district's administration building. He said he taped the sign to the building to prevent it from falling in the mud and left the sign in order to help the reporter.

He told Scott the sign was gone when he and the reporter returned. Parsons said a police officer told him that someone with the administration had taken it away.

Parsons filed the lawsuit against Debbie Jones, the school superintendent, asking $76 for the sign.

Marshall Ney, the attorney for the school district, said it is against the law to have signs for or against a ballot measure posted on school district buildings. Ney said Parsons left the sign unattended on the building, and it was removed and destroyed.

Parsons claimed no one had the right to destroy his sign and could have simply returned it to him.

Parsons had no witnesses or evidence. Scott said he had no choice but to dismiss the case.

The second case concerned Parsons' lawsuit against Paul Wallace, the director of facilities for the school district. The lawsuit involved boilers in the district's schools. Parsons claims the district does not have certified personnel monitoring the boilers as required by state law.

Ney told the judge Parsons did not have standing to sue Wallace or the school district. Ney said issues concerning the boilers are the responsibility of the Arkansas Department of Labor and the law does not allow an individual to file a suit.

Scott agreed with Ley's opinion and dismissed the case.

Parsons said he may no longer represent himself in cases, but take his issues to the court of public opinion.

"Defending these types of claims is a drain on the district's resources," Leslee Wright, a spokeswoman for the school district, said. "We are pleased with today's dismissals."

NW News on 03/13/2018