2005 High School Mock Trial Case: Pat Baggins v. Carson Riddle and Cole County School District #36
The 2001-2002 athletic season started out as a great one for the teams at Bay City High School. As always, the girls' basketball team started the season with a winning record, and were on their way to another state title. Coach Pat Baggins was leading them all the way, with Coach Tandy Mattison at their side. Michele Jordan was their star player. She was quick, a great strategist, and had a great future ahead of her in basketball. That is, until the ride home from a game in February 2002 when Coach Baggins kicked her off of the team when s/he believed s/he caught Michele dipping snuff on the back of the bus. Bobbie Coozie often traveled with the team and was on the bus the night of the incident.
As part of the school newspaper, "The Weekly Warthog," Bobbie Coozie had set up the newspaper online with several discussion forums under the school's main Web site where students could talk about different issues related to school events and topics. S/he had created one for people to discuss athletics, and the girls' basketball team was a primary interest. But, after Michele was kicked off of the team, the forum evolved into more of a call to fire Coach Baggins. The discussion boards were overloading the server and Bobbie Coozie asked to have a new server installed, dedicated to handling the discussion forums. Previously, however, Bobbie Coozie created another Web link called "FireCoachBaggins.com." The cry to have Coach Baggins removed as head coach continued until a discussion member posted a link to what appeared to be Coach Baggins official resume. This resume indicated that Coach Baggins had credentials that s/he in fact did not have. The group that had been determined to have Coach Baggins fired finally had the evidence they felt they needed to make it so. Unfortunately, the original resume had been given to a previous principal who had left the school a few years before, and could not remember the details of the resume. On checking the school's records, the Principal, Cason Riddle, also could not find the resume in the coachï¿½s personnel file at the district office. Riddle concluded that the resume on the Web site appeared to be legitimate, and fired the coach.
Coach Baggins was fired at a PTA meeting for falsifying his/her resume, and has brought suit against the Cole County School District 36 for wrongful termination. The coach named the School District as the Defendant, since the Principal had authorized the Web site where the resume had been posted, as agent for the District.
Plaintiff Baggins has sued Cason Riddle individually for defamation. Plaintiff Baggins has settled and released all claims against Cole County School District 36, so that Cason Riddle is the only remaining defendant.