Student settles suit with State Center college district over fight with Brian Calhoun

The Fresno BeeMay 23, 2014 

A Fresno City College student who had a violent confrontation with instructor Brian Calhoun has settled her lawsuit with the State Center Community College District for $5,000.

According to documents released Friday by the college district, the money will be paid to Keyvnn Gomez and her Fresno attorney, Catherine Campbell. In exchange, Gomez will drop all claims against former district Chancellor Deborah Blue, Fresno City College President Tony Cantu and the college district board.

In October, Calhoun, 70, was tried and convicted of misdemeanor battery in Fresno County Superior Court after witnesses said he pinned the 5-2, 102-pound Gomez against a wall inside the Old Administration Building and then body-slammed her to the floor.

Calhoun, who was 5-9 and 157 pounds, contends Gomez started the fight when she cursed at him. The college district fired Calhoun about seven week after the incident.

In November, Judge Denise Whitehead fined Calhoun $240, put him on three years of probation and ordered him to spend 90 days in the Adult Offender Work Program. That cost him $900 in $10-per-day supervision fees.

The documents released Friday don't identify Calhoun as a party to the settlement, but court records show Gomez's lawsuit against Calhoun and the college district was dismissed earlier this month in Fresno County Superior Court.

SCCCD officials declined to comment Friday. Gomez and Campbell could not be reached to comment. But the documents say SCCCD admits no "wrongdoing, fault or liability of any kind" and entered into the settlement "to avoid the expense and uncertainties associated with continuing the claims."

Calhoun could not be reached for comment Friday. In an interview in late March, Calhoun said had already reached a confidential settlement with Gomez and could not discuss it.

In an email after he was sentenced in November, Calhoun wrote that Gomez was trying to "hit the Big Lotto by suing SCCCD on the basis of this frivolous case."

As for Calhoun paying Gomez any money, he wrote in the email: "I am so far in debt, to include a recent second mortgage on my house. Her attorneys know there is no squeezing blood out of this turnip."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6434, plopez@fresnobee.com or @beecourts on Twitter.

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