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Joe Hatley Shares Insights on Cost of Lawsuits Against Missouri School Districts

Spencer Fane Partner Joe Hatley was interviewed recently by KSHB television station in Kansas City to discuss the cost of employment discrimination lawsuits filed against school districts in Missouri.

KSHB mentions that its investigation “shined a light on Missouri’s anti-discrimination laws, which some in the metro school community believe can make it easy for an employee to sue. While the current laws help bring important justice to some cases, the amount of lawsuits has a big impact on taxpayers and classrooms in the state.”

Joe adds that “It’s just a cost of doing business and it’s a very high cost of doing business in Missouri.” He goes on to explain that “every $50,000 you spend on that is one less teacher you can hire.”

The article explains that “Missouri, which requires a lower burden of proof for plaintiffs of discrimination cases than other states, ends up seeing a high number of lawsuits against school districts.” Expanding on that statement, Joe mentions that “you can have a case in Missouri that’s very weak, and it probably wouldn’t even be brought if the same conduct happened five miles to the west in Kansas.”

KSHB’s investigation revealed that while there are over 80 employment discrimination suits pending against Missouri school districts in its viewing area, there are only three such suits pending against Kansas school districts.

You can read the entire KSHB article and view the video here.

Joe Hatley is a civil and commercial litigator who helps educational institutions navigate federal and state laws so they can meet the increasing demands of lawmakers, parents and students. He co-chairs the Spencer Fane Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group.