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PARAMOUNT : Former Superintendent Loses Suit Over Firing

January 13, 1994

A Superior Court jury has found that the Paramount school board did not discriminate against former Supt. Richard B. Caldwell when it decided not to renew his contract in 1991.

The jury, deliberating in Los Angeles, also decided that Caldwell, who had been superintendent for almost 13 years, had breached his contract with the district.

Caldwell, now 68, had alleged in his lawsuit that he lost his job because of his age and race. He is white. The board hired Michele Lawrence, former deputy superintendent in the ABC Unified School District, as superintendent. She is a Latina and in her 40s.

In last November's election, Caldwell won a seat on the board that he was suing. At the meeting Tuesday night, Caldwell declined to comment on the outcome of his case. "As far as I'm concerned, it's over with," he said. "You win some, you lose some."

Conrad Kohrs, attorney for the Paramount Unified School District, said that in addition to rejecting Caldwell's discrimination claim, "the jurors felt the evidence showed that Caldwell had been lackadaisical in his performance of his duties. . . ." Kohrs said he will ask the court to order Caldwell to reimburse the district for legal expenses.

Caldwell's attorney, Dale Gronemeier), said jurors were apparently unmoved by comments that board members had made about the superintendent's age and race.

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