Mai Summer Vue, a fourth-grade teacher falsely accused during a Fresno Unified School District Board meeting of acting in pornography, has failed in her bid to force her bosses to pay her thousands in damages for the embarrassing affair.
Fresno County Superior Court spokeswoman Suzanne Abi-Rached said a jury found in favor of Fresno Unified, former Superintendent Michael Hanson and current human resources administrator Cyndy Quintana on Wednesday.
The lawsuit stemmed from an incident at the May 28, 2014 board meeting in which local Hmong radio host Pao Xiong made sexually explicit allegations against Vue, a John Muir Elementary teacher.
Pahoua Lor, Vue’s attorney, said on Tuesday the jury rejected her client’s claim that Xiong had harassed Vue solely because she was a woman. Since no sexual harassment took place, the question of whether Fresno Unified and its officials were to blame became legally irrelevant. Vue plans to appeal the verdict.
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Vue contended district officials, who knew Xiong would be speaking and had already verified Vue was not in the pornographic video, should have stopped Xiong from speaking. The district said it had not way of knowing exactly what Xiong would say. Regardless, free speech and public meeting laws kept the district from restricting Xiong, Fresno Unified lawyers said.
Fresno Unified issued a statement thanking the jury for its service. The district said the verdict “ensures the public’s continued participation in our board meetings consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and California’s open meeting laws.”
Vue has been on leave since 2014, saying Xiong’s actions have caused her mental issues she is currently taking medication for. She is suing Xiong for his alleged defamation in a separate case, which is scheduled to go to trial on May 22.