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Federal judge set pre-trial conference, trial date in ACS lawsuit

A federal judge has set both a pre-trial conference and trial date for the federal lawsuit naming Andalusia City Schools, the high school principal and the superintendent of education.

The pre-trial conference are set for Jan. 15, 2021 at 11 a.m. in the Frank M. Johnson Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Montgomery.

The trial and jury selection is set to begin during the term of court commencing on Feb. 22, 2021, at 10 a.m. that the same location.

The order also gives until July 24, 2020 for dispositive motions to be filed.

Both parties also have until June 26, 2020 to have a face-to-face settlement conference to engage in good faith settlement negotiations.

If the parties cannot reach a settlement, counsel must discuss whether mediation will assist the parties in a reaching a settlement.

Judge Andrew Brasher has also set other dates outlined that both parties much comply with ranging from discovery cutoffs to expert witnesses.

In September, the Star-News reported that a former Andalusia High School student had filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Andalusia City Board of Education, Andalusia High School Principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare and Superintendent Ted Watson alleging sexual assault by a former basketball coach at the high school and sexual harassment by Shakespeare.

Clark was non-renewed at the end of the 2018 school year after two years as coach at AHS.

The plaintiff filed a Title IX lawsuit in the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex for those who receive federal funds in education.

The 30-page lawsuit alleges that the Andalusia City Board of Education has not provided sufficient training and education programs on what constitutes sexual misconduct.

Andalusia City Schools, in turn, answered the complaint denying the allegations.