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Federal judge dismisses Sensabaugh lawsuit against Washington County Schools, Halliburton

Zach Vance, Johnson City Press • Nov 20, 2018 at 8:39 AM

A federal judge has determined the free-speech rights of former David Crockett football coach Gerald Sensabaugh were not violated when Washington County Schools director Kimber Halliburton reprimanded him last fall and ultimately fired him in March.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves officially dismissed the $5 million lawsuit, filed by Sensabaugh, that alleged Halliburton violated his First Amendment rights for retaliating against him for Facebook posts he wrote that were critical of the school system.

“The court finds that no reasonable jury could find that Sensabaugh’s Facebook posts were a substantial motivating factor for Halliburton’s decisions to issue the Letters of Guidance/Reprimand/Suspension or to terminate Sensabaugh. Halliburton decided to terminate Sensabaugh only after a complete investigation by an outside law firm and after Sensabaugh had been given an opportunity to respond to the investigation findings,” Reeves wrote in her ruling.

The judge ultimately determined Halliburton would have fired Sensabaugh absent his Facebook posts.

For more on this story, visit the Johnson City Press.

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