See full story in earlier articles below. Powerful people tried to prevent this verdict.
Feb. 26, 2015
Jan. 2014
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Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD)
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October 2013
Mistrial declared in Allyn vs. FUESD
Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor
Village News
October 24th, 2013

On Monday, Oct. 21,
Judge Jacqueline Stern declared a mistrial in the case of Allyn vs.
Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD) at Vista Superior Court, citing
that the proceeds would exceed the time limit previously established for the trial. The trial
had just begun its seventh day out of the 10 days slated for it.

Allyn, the district’s former information technology director and an employee of 18
years, claimed she was wrongfully terminated by administrators in 2012 in an act
of retaliation and that the district violated public policy by misusing public funds.

"The jury in this case had been scheduled through Thursday, Oct. 24, and the court
determined that the case would not conclude until Nov. 7, resulting in the judge declaring
a mistrial," said FUESD defense attorney
Gil Abed of Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz,

Allyn’s attorney Michael Curran, of Curran & Curran Law, posted the blame for
the mistrial firmly on the defense counsel.

"I think it is reprehensible the way they wasted everyone’s time and resources,"
said Curran, who claimed FUESD attorneys "intentionally" prolonged examination
of their defendants in order to effect a mistrial. Curran said he "repeatedly
objected to the defense counsel’s undue consumption of time."

FUESD’s defendants,
Dennis Bixler, Candace Singh, Bob Price,
and associate superintendent Raymond Proctor were the individuals under fire
by the plaintiff’s counsel. In an earlier interview, Curran said, "This case is really
about an abuse of power, a breach of public trust, and a cover up that included
retaliation by [Allyn’s] bosses."

Curran cited examples of what he called the "excessive" time used in the early
days of the trial. "We examined Bixler for 2.5 hours, compared to their 6.5 hours;
we examined superintendent Singh for 2 hours, compared to their 6 hours; and
we questioned the district’s investigator Price for 2.5 hours, compared to their
7.5 hours," he said.

"Then the district and their counsel claimed they need another two weeks to put on their
defense case," said Curran. "The judge was forced to declare mistrial after jurors
indicated they could not stay longer then the court originally cleared."

"Two jurors would have encountered problems with their jobs; one had to report for
military duty on a certain date," Curran explained.

Prior to the mistrial being declared, Curran said in his opinion, "The case was going along
very well and we were demonstrating that Ms. Allyn’s termination was wrongful and
retaliatory; the evidence was unfolding just as we had planned."

Conversely, Abed said "As officers of the court, neither Mr. Shinoff (law firm partner) nor I  
will try a case in the press and will only litigate our cases before the court. We are very
disappointed that we were not able to complete this trial and show the jury the abundance
of evidence justifying the dismissal of a management employee in the district."

Judge Stern ordered a judicial settlement conference be set for Dec. 12 in the case, which
will be presided over by Judge Thomas Nugent, to see if the parties can be assisted in
resolving the case before scheduling a new trial.

"[The district] could settle with Ms. Allyn and they should," said Curran. "If an acceptable
settlement is not reached, then a case management conference will be set for January,
after which a new trial date will be ordered."

Following the dismissal of the jurors, Curran said he had an opportunity to speak
with 11 of the 12 to gauge their opinion of the case.

"Ten of the 11 jurors said they felt like it was looking like a case of retaliation
(against Allyn)," said Curran. "They said they felt Bixler and Singh were not
credible, and that Singh also came across as rehearsed. They said they felt Price
wasn’t believable and they hadn’t seen anything that proved [Allyn] had violated
any processes."

Curran claimed one significant incident during the proceedings was noted by
the jurors.

"Bixler impeached himself dozens
of times by changing his testimony
on a critical issue in the trial."
The matter involved whether or not
Allyn had complained to Bixler that
she was being asked to delete
district archives.

"That is smoking gun evidence
and we knew he was being told
to change his testimony," said Curran. "We showed him what was in his notes
and he had to go back to his original testimony."

Abed said his respect continues for the jury trial process. "A trial is a pursuit of the truth to
a jury. We look forward to a complete vindication of all the allegations made against the

Curran said he felt the situation leading to the
mistrial was disrespectful.

"It is a terrible, continued injustice to Ms. Allyn
and 12 very conscientious jurors who listened
to the evidence/case for seven days only to
have their time wasted by the district and
their lawyers," he said.

Curran said other matters have come to light
during his handling of Allyn’s case that he
feels should be investigated.

"We intend on providing a complete report and
demanding the
San Diego Office of Education
and California Office of Education investigate
these matters," said Curran.
Updates on Allyn case:

On 01/03/2014
Civil Jury Trial has been
scheduled for
at 08:30AM
before Judge Jacqueline
M. Stern.

Trial Readiness Conference
(Civil) scheduled for 03/28/2014
at 10:00AM before Judge
Jacqueline M. Stern.

Minutes finalized for
Settlement Conference (Civil)
heard 12/12/2013 09:00:00 AM.

Settlement Conference (Civil)
continued pursuant to Court's
motion to 02/04/2014 at
09:00AM before Judge Thomas
P. Nugent.

Motion for Attorney Fees filed
by Fallbrook Union Elementary
School District.


(760) 634-1229

Suite 200 SAN DIEGO CA 92106 6113
(619) 232-3122
Update on Elaine Allyn's lawsuit
against Fallbrook

See blog post with commentary

On 01/03/2014
Civil Jury Trial has been scheduled
for 04/18/2014 at 08:30AM before
Judge Jacqueline M. Stern.
Judge Jacqueline Stern
Jan. 2014
San Ysidro Schools

Traditional document
Fallbrook Elementary

Smokeless document
Candace Singh,
Superintendent FUESD
Blog posts on
Fallbrook Union Elementary
School District FUESD

Blog posts on
Fallbrook Union High School
District FUHSD
No resolution in school
board health insurance
North County Times
November 27, 2006

Droves of local residents and
educators attended a
Fallbrook Union High
School District
Monday night, where
outgoing trustee Jim Hutcherson
announced that he would decide
later whether to accept a
controversial extended health
insurance package available only
to longtime trustees who meet
certain criteria.

District bylaws say a trustee who
has served for at least 12 years,
and whose first term began
between 1981 and 1994, can
receive extended health
insurance benefits until he or she
becomes eligible for Medicare or
Medicaid. Hutcherson, 59,
served on the board for 16
years, before losing his bid for a
fifth term in the Nov. 7 election.

However, the possibility that he
may claim the extended health
benefit has angered district
teachers and others in the

About 150 people attended
Monday's meeting, where the
board was expected to discuss
the issue. Shortly after the
meeting started, however,
Hutcherson said he had
determined board action was not
required for him to receive the
benefits for at least the next six

"I am statutorily entitled to
these benefits," Hutcherson
said, drawing a cry from the
audience. "My choice will be
made in the months to come."

The district's attorney, Dan
Shinoff, said he agreed with
Hutcherson's assessment.

"It's a self-executing policy,
and there's no other action
that's needed, in my opinion,"
said Shinoff. "Case law and
attorney general opinion
indicate that it's a vested

Monday night's meeting was the
last for Hutcherson and Fran
White, both of whom lost
re-election bids on Nov. 7. White,
who was absent from the
meeting, is not eligible for the
extended benefits, nor is Trustee
Ed Puett, whose term ends next

Critics say the issue is not
whether Hutcherson is entitled to
those benefits, but whether it is
appropriate for him to accept
them. Some said the idea is
"unconscionable," "unethical,"
and "a gross misuse of public

Many pointed out that
Hutcherson is an employee of
the Bonsall Union School District,
which provides health insurance
for him and the rest of its

Others criticized Hutcherson
because he has not recused
himself from the discussions
or votes pertaining to his
benefits package.

Hutcherson, 59, has served on
the high school board since

The board bylaw concerning the
extended health benefit for
longtime trustees was adopted in
1995. Two weeks ago,
Hutcherson said that to his
knowledge, he is the only
Fallbrook High School trustee
who has ever been eligible for
the benefits.

Nearly 20 people at Monday's
meeting urged him to turn the
benefit down, at a time when the
district seems to be financially

"If I were Mr. Hutcherson, I would
be ashamed to even have this
item on the table," said Connie
O'Connor, a retired Fallbrook
High School teacher, pointing out
that teachers pay a portion of
their own insurance benefits.

Maurice Bernier, who used to be
on the high school board but now
serves on the town's elementary
school district board, was one of
many who called on Hutcherson
to decline the offer.

"As a member of the high school
board, I turned down health
insurance benefits ... because I
felt it would be a drain on the
community," said Bernier. "I'm
sorry to see this come before us."

Countering Shinoff's
statement that state law
supports Hutcherson's
entitlement to extended
benefits, Bernier pointed out
that board bylaws can be
changed, and hinted that the
board should do so in this
situation to avoid further

Bill O'Connor, one of three
new board members who will
be sworn in on Dec. 11,
questioned the idea that the
board has no further say in
whether Hutcherson receives
extended health insurance
from the district.

"If it's up to you to make the
decision, and not the board, why
was it on the agenda (to be
voted upon) during the last
meeting, and this one?"
O'Connor asked.

Carolyn Major, a local resident
who volunteers on the Fallbrook
Planning Group, told Hutcherson
that she feels the spirit of the
1995 bylaw is no longer valid.

"Our school cannot afford to
impose this old bylaw, and I
would hope, sir, that you have
the courage and vision to not
allow yourself this benefit," she

It was unclear whether the issue
will come before the school
board again, or whether the
board will be required to report
Hutcherson's decision.

[Maura Larkins' comment:  I
think I can guess what
Hutcherson will decide.  If
he's silent, it will mean that
he took the benefits.  If he
gives them up, he'll probably
announce it.]

Tracy wrote on Nov 28, 2006
6:31 AM:

The benefit was not properly
stated by the newspaper
reporter. The extended
benefits for Mr. Hutcherson
could be 'LIFETIME' - not just
until the age of 65. The Board
Policy clearly states that the
has the authority to vote on
this proposed remuneration.
Legal Council is ignoring this
fact - Council whose fee is
being paid by the district !
Gary Warth has covered a variety of
beats in North County since 1989 and
now covers school districts in coastal
North County and homeless issues. A
San Diego resident since the 1970s,
he earned a journalism degree from
San Diego State University and has
won numerous awards for his work.
Bixler's charges against Elaine Allyn
FALLBROOK: Ex-tech director says
school district officials ordered her
to destroy emails
June 17, 2012

The former director of educational technology for
the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
has filed a $972,000 civil lawsuit against the
district, alleging she was wrongfully fired after
being falsely accused of snooping through emails.

The suit, filed May 31 by Encinitas resident Elaine
Allyn, includes allegations of discrimination,
harassment, retaliation and wasteful spending.
She also claims that a district investigation into a
teacher suspected of videotaping students was
hampered because an administrator had ordered
emails deleted, inadvertently destroying possible

Besides the $972,000 cited in the lawsuit,
attorney Susan Curran
said her client also will
be seeking lost past and future income, lost
benefits, attorney fees and punitive damages.

Dennis Bixler, assistant superintendent of human
resources, said the school board meet in closed
session last month to discuss the claim Allyn had
filed as a prerequisite to the lawsuit. Trustees
rejected part of the claim and sent other parts
back without action because they were untimely,
meaning they had happened too far in the past,
he said.

[Maura Larkins' comment: Of course they did.  
This is exactly what they were instructed to do
by Rick Rinnear of San Diego County Office of
Education--JPA, the school district's liability
carrier.  T
his is the message Mr. Rinnear sent
to all SDCOE-JPA school districts:

"If a claim is submitted in letter
format and is
sufficient (in
compliance), per the Government
the claim should be...
returned as insufficient,
late or

This is how SDCOE runs its JPA: not for the
benefit of students, or the public, but for the
benefit of individuals who have power in

In the complaint, Allyn said she had been a
district employee for 18 years and was earning
about $109,000 a year when she was fired in May.

According to the lawsuit,
Allyn had been
subjected to six years of harassment from
Ray Proctor, associate superintendent of
business services at the district,
who had
become vindictive after learning she had
complained that he made an inappropriate
comment about her in a Cabinet meeting in 2005.

Proctor declined to comment for this story,
directing all inquiries to Bixler.

According to the lawsuit, Proctor had said Allyn
must have "slept with the vendor" to get the
district its good cellphone contract.

Allyn said in the lawsuit that the human
resources department ignored her
complaint about Proctor, but her accusation
was leaked to him.
For the next six years,
according to the suit, he was overly critical of her,
giving her smaller budgets than her male
counterparts and denying her staff assistance.

Also in the lawsuit, Proctor is said to have asked
Allyn in early August 2011 to wipe out or cleanse
the district's entire electronic data imaging from
its archive system and to wipe out all emails that
were in the trash bin of the active system.

The district hired Candy Singh as the new
superintendent last August. According to the
Singh also requested Allyn delete
old imaging and emails, and Allyn said she
again refused because it was a violation of
state and federal laws.

At Singh's and Proctor's insistence,
however, Allyn later hired a consultant to
help dismantle the archive system,
according to the lawsuit.

Last January, the lawsuit continues, Allyn
was asked to assist in the investigation
against a teacher suspected of videotaping
students. Allyn said she scanned the video
camera and found nothing incriminating, but
was unable to provide a backlog of the
teacher's emails, as requested by private
investigator Bob Price, because there were
few to read since Proctor and Singh had
order a change to the archive system.
According to the lawsuit, Proctor asked Allyn for an administrative password to access
additional log files on the computer system.

After she complied, Allyn said she was called in to Proctor's office and accused of illegally
accessing and reading employee emails.

Allyn said the accusation was unfounded, as employee emails are not considered private
and district policy gives her the right and ability to access emails and electronic files
without prior notice or consent.

Bixler, however, said that while the emails are not considered private, and supervisors
have the right to look into the emails of subordinates, Allyn was looking into the emails of
her supervisors.

According to the lawsuit, Allyn said she was accused of looking into Singh's emails
because she knew about complaints against the superintendent, including how $30,000
had been spent on new office furniture and remodeling. Allyn said in the suit that she
knew of the complaints about the spending because people in the district were talking
about them, not because she snooped in emails.

But according to a district notice outlining existing causes to discipline Allyn, which Bixler
signed April 12 and provided to the North County Times, the investigator hired by the
district found other indications that Allyn was looking into the superintendent's and other
administrators' emails.

In her lawsuit, Allyn denied ever looking into the superintendent's emails.
Ashley McGlone of SDUT noted on June 12, 2012:

"[Allyn's] lawsuit says she told the superintendent the move would violate state and federal
laws governing public agency records retention, and she was ultimately directed to keep
undeleted emails for no more than one year, and deleted emails for no more than one
161        04/28/2014        Ex
Parte scheduled for
05/01/2014 at 08:30:00 AM at
North County in N-27
Jacqueline M.
160        04/24/2014        
Notice of Hearing SD
generated.                Notice
of Hearing SD        
159        04/24/2014        
Minutes finalized for Status
Conference (Civil) heard
04/24/2014 03:00:00
PM.                Minute
158        04/24/2014        Civil
Jury Trial scheduled for
07/25/2014 at 08:30AM
before Judge Jacqueline M.
156        04/24/2014        
Status Conference (Civil)
scheduled for 04/24/2014 at
03:00:00 PM at North County
in N-27 Jacqueline M.
155        04/22/2014        
Minutes finalized for Civil
Jury Trial heard 04/22/2014
09:00:00 AM. (As
Amended)                Minute
154        04/22/2014        
Minutes finalized for Civil
Jury Trial heard 04/22/2014
09:00:00 AM.
(Subsequently amended -
See ROA # 155)                
Minute Order        
153        04/22/2014        Jury trial
152        04/21/2014        
Minutes finalized for Civil
Jury Trial heard 04/21/2014
08:30:00 AM. (As
Amended)                Minute
151        04/21/2014        11:12
am Court adjourned until
04/22/2014 at 09:00AM in
150        04/21/2014        
Minutes finalized for Civil
Jury Trial heard 04/21/2014
08:30:00 AM.
(Subsequently amended -
See ROA # 152)                
Minute Order        
149        04/21/2014        9:00
am Court adjourned until
04/22/2014 at 09:00AM in
148        04/21/2014        
Jury trial commenced.
The retrial of Allyn v.
Fallbrook ESD was
commenced on April 21,
2014, but after four days
it was postponed until
July 25, 2014.

Petition in Court of
Allyn v. The Superior Court
of San Diego
County/Fallbrook Union
Elementary School
Case Number D066100

Date         Description         
06/06/2014         Filed
petition for writ of:             
Mandate with 1 volume of
06/06/2014         Certificate
of interested entities and
parties filed by:         
Petitioner: Elaine M. Allyn
Attorney: Michael D.
06/17/2014         Opposition
filed.             By real party in
06/18/2014         Order
denying petition
filed.             The petition for
writ of mandate and
preliminary opposition have
been read and considered
by Justices Huffman,
McIntyre and Aaron. The
petition is denied.
06/18/2014         Case
Allyn vs. FUESD trial begins
October 10th, 2013
Debbie Ramsey
Fallbrook Village News

Opening arguments were heard Monday, Oct. 7, at Vista Superior Court, in the civil court
case of Elaine Allyn vs. Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD). The suit,
which claims Allyn, the district’s former information technology director, was wrongfully
terminated by administrators in an act of retaliation, requests that $972,000 in lost past and
future wages, benefits, punitive damages, and attorneys fees be paid to the plaintiff. The
suit also alleges the district violated public policy by misusing public funds.

Judge Jacqueline Stern and a 12-person jury heard opening arguments from Allyn’s
attorney, Michael Curran, of Curran & Curran Law, that detailed a time frame from the
summer of 2011 to May 2012.

"This case is really about an abuse of power, a breach of public trust, and a cover up that
included retaliation by her bosses," said Curran. The primary individuals under fire by the
plaintiff are FUESD superintendent Candace Singh and associate superintendent Raymond

Curran said the evidence he will present will demonstrate to the jury that Allyn, an 18-year
employee of the district who has received several awards of distinction both in the
community and in her position, fell out of good grace when she questioned Proctor about
an order he gave her to delete electronic files which were protected under existing policy as
well as state and federal law.

"Proctor told her to ‘wipe the archives clean;’ when she said she couldn’t do it within the law,
[Allyn] fell out of the circle of trust and [Proctor] retaliated," said Curran. "We will show how
Proctor had been peppering budgets, manipulating monies. As a result, they spent
$100,000 of public money to create a cover-up." From that point on, the retaliation
continued, Curran alleged.

Curran said Allyn was also asked by Singh to "hide" $42,000 of improvements made to the
then-new superintendent’s office in the information technology (IT) budget because she
"didn’t want it to flag the board [of trustees]."

The plaintiff’s case, as outlined, also alleges that district officials "hacked in" to files and
emails to create a scenario for the dismissal of Allyn from her position. An earlier complaint
by Allyn also alleged sexual harassment by Proctor. Curran said evidence will also show the
investigation into that claim was purposelessly assigned to a subordinate of Proctor’s in
order to control the outcome.

"We know they secretly went in and fussed with her files," said Curran. "Elaine noticed what
had been changed and experts said her files had been hacked."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Curran said Proctor put Allyn on leave and Advertisement
Advertisement for Casa Tiene Vista
[ Casa Tiene Vista ] walked her out of her office.

"The evidence will show that everything in this investigation was highly unusual, and that
misrepresentations to the FUESD board [of trustees] led to [Allyn’s] termination," said

"The evidence we will present will fully support our case and the jury will notice that there
are significant emails missing from the defense’s case," he added.

Gil Abed, a partner in Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff, & Holtz, said the evidence he will present in
defense of FUESD will show a different set of circumstances.

"We will show that when Ms. Allyn was put on administrative leave for misconduct, there was
nothing on record that she had complained about anything before that," said Abed, who
also provided to the jury character background on the district officials under fire.

Abed also explained how decisions regarding the hiring and firing of employees
are ultimately determined by the five-person board of trustees. "They are the
ones that run the district," he said.

[Maura Larkins' comment:  In fact, Mr. Abed, isn't it true that board members tend
to rubber-stamp whatever their lawyers tell them to do?]

In outlining what his case will contain, Abed said he will provide witnesses who will state
improvements (upgrades) were needed in the information technology department.

"Ms. Singh tasked Elaine Allyn to have the IT department audited to see how to accomplish
these improvements and Allyn dropped the ball," claimed Abed. "The district feels that over
the last three years they lost opportunities in subsidies they claim she was responsible for."

Abed said Singh discovered someone was reading her emails during the time frame in
question and questioned Allyn about it.

"Ms. Singh said when she told Ms. Allyn about it, she had no reaction; that was odd in Singh’
s mind," said Abed, who also alluded that Allyn knew information contained within them
without an email being directed to her on the topic. "Or was that just a coincidence?" he

Abed also said there was no existing policy on how long (general) email had to be retained
by the district and that Allyn "took matters into her own hands on retention time frames."

Essentially, Abed said, Singh saw "a breach of security; a breach of trust," which led to
recommending that Allyn be dismissed from the position.

Contrary to that, Curran said "What really happened is she took issue with her two
bosses for manipulating and misusing public funds. The charges they are making
against her are a ruse, a cover-up."

Allyn’s base salary at the time of her termination was $103,397. The person hired
to replace Allyn, under a revised job description, was hired at a higher salary.

The trial has been estimated to run 10 days.
News, information and ideas about our
education system, courts and health care
by Maura Larkins
The Allyn case has been
postponed yet again, until
Jan. 23, 2015,
at the
request of Daniel Shinoff,
who represents Fallbrook
Elementary School District.  
It was filed in May 2012.

04/29/2014        Ex Parte
Application - Other and
Supporting Documents (to
Continue Trial Date) filed by
Fallbrook Union Elementary
School District.
Jury: Fallbrook Schools Must Pay
Ex-Employee $1M for Retaliation
Ashly McGlone
Voice of San Diego
Feb. 26, 2015

A jury Thursday afternoon ordered the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District to
pay its former IT director Elaine Allyn over $1 million for retaliating against her for
objecting to the deletion of district emails.

The jury returned the unanimous verdict after deliberating for four hours following a 15-
day trial, said Allyn’s attorney, Michael Curran.

It was the second jury to hear wrongful termination claims made by Allyn, who was fired
in May 2012 after a dispute over the deletion of district emails.

“I can’t express the emotion I am feeling,” Allyn said of the verdict. “This is not only for
me but, for all the people at the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, former and
present employees that are going through the awful treatment that this administration
is giving them. I really hope that it opens the eyes of the School Board to re-evaluate
the current administration and their management philosophy.”

The district claimed the 18-year employee was fired for snooping and hacking
colleagues’ emails and reduced the amount of time district servers retain emails on her
own “to conceal her wrongful and deceitful acts.”

Allyn said she had previously reported sexual harassment by a superior and that she
was ordered to dismantle the district’s email archive system, permanently erasing all
deleted emails and reducing email retention from three years to one week, despite
voicing objections and legal concerns.

A first trial that began in October 2013 ended in a mistrial after the district asked to
extend it beyond the 10 days scheduled.

This time, the jury found Fallbrook retaliated “against Ms. Allyn for raising objections to
reducing the retention time of the District’s email system,” and awarded nearly $1.05
million for lost income and $148,000 in damages, more than the amounts sought, court
records show...

See the rest of the story
Over a year ago Judge Jacqueline Stern, in what appeared to
be an effort to protect Fallbrook Union Elementary School
District from an adverse verdict,
declared a mistrial in the
Elaine Allyn case (see story below regarding October 2013
mistrial).  After many delays, a jury has finally been allowed to

The jury clearly believed that district officials falsely accused
an employee as part of a cover-up.  This story has much in
common with events at
Chula Vista Elementary School District.
05/13/08 08:30AM
04/18/08 09:00AM
Judge: Barton, Jeffrey
Demurrer / Motion
R) Fallbrook Union
R) James
R) Janice Schultz,
Ed. D.
Janice Schultz
Counsel: Daniel R.

03/28/08 10:15AM
C-61    CV Meyer,
John S.                 
OSC - Failure t
Daniel R. Shinoff        
Fallbrook UESD loses Allyn case, must pay $1 million
for retaliation
Judge Jacqueline Stern
See Allyn v. Fallbrook complaint.
unanimously finds
Fallbrook Union
Elementary School
District wrongfully
terminated Elaine
Allyn; district ordered
to pay over $1.19 million
Village News
February 27, 2015

...The first statement is from Allyn’
s legal counsel, Curran & Curran

“In a resounding victory against
the alleged misconduct by her
former bosses, FUESD
superintendent Candace Singh,
Ray Proctor and Dennis Bixler,
Elaine Allyn, the former 18-year
information technology director
for the district, prevailed in her
claims for retaliatory
mistreatment and wrongful
termination with a unanimous jury
award of $1,194,000 for lost
past, present and future income
and emotional distress (general

“Ms. Allyn originally alleged
claims for wrongful termination in
violation of public policy,
retaliation under the Labor Code
and for the failure to conduct a
proper alleged discrimination
investigation relating to Mr. Bixler
investigating his own boss, Mr.
Proctor. Her claims were refined
by her counsel and, based upon
technical legal/procedural
grounds, a single claim went to
the jury; whistle-blower retaliation
in violation of Labor Code
section 1102.5...

“Ms. Allyn had also testified in
early summer of 2011
that Mr. Proctor had
warned his fellow
administrators to “clean
their houses” as he was
aware of public
investigations into
misconduct in other
districts concerning
improper financial
relationships with
contractors and other
financial misconduct and
was concerned Fallbrook
could be investigated
and he could be
embarrassed or
disciplined for his own
alleged financial

“Mr. Proctor and Ms.
Singh then directed Ms.
Allyn to delete the district’
s archive server which
contained three years of
district historical emails.
When Ms. Allyn initially
refused and asked her
bosses to provide a legal
opinion because she
believed what they were
asking violated law and
district policy, they
threatened her with
insubordination charges
and ordered her to delete
the email archive sever
telling her they would
take care of the legal

“Once that was done, in a further
attempt to cover themselves and point
the finger at Ms. Allyn in case of
investigation of the District, they falsely
and pretextually accused her of
“hacking” and reading their emails
and conducted a $43,000 pretextual
investigation with the district lawyer
Dan Shinoff’s trusted investigator, who
found no computer or forensic
evidence of misconduct by Ms. Allyn.

“Despite the findings of the
investigator, Ms. Singh, Mr. Proctor and
Mr. Bixler still falsely charged Ms. Allyn
with reading emails, deleting emails,
and failing to assist the district with the
voluntary Erate funding program. In a
formal Notice of Charges document,
Mr. Bixler, who testified the documents
was “wordsmithed” with Mr. Shinoff,
presented these pretextual and false
charges to the board, resulting in Ms.
Allyn’s wrongful and retaliatory

“Earlier in this litigation, district
spokesperson, Dennis Bixler, had
previously falsely indicated to the
press Ms. Allyn had been terminated
for dishonesty, fraud and violation of
district policies. After an initial trial,
which Ms. Allyn and her counsel
believe the district intentionally caused
to be mistried, the district board again
falsely reported to the press Ms. Allyn
was terminated for dishonesty, fraud
and violation of district policy.

“The dedicated jury in this second trial
listened attentively to all the evidence
and believed Ms. Allyn and her former
district employees, all of whom were
absolutely honest and sincere and
none of whom were impeached, not a
single time in the trial. The district
witnesses were impeached
repeatedly with inconsistent
deposition and former testimony from
the first trial. The district witnesses
were shown to be inconsistent with
each other on key issues in the case
with Mr. Bixler giving five different
versions of Ms. Allyn reporting to him
and Mr. Shinoff and his investigator
that she had been directed by Ms.
Singh and Mr. Proctor to delete the
districts archive email server.

“The district witnesses even attempted
to add new preposterous claims and
allegations against Ms. Allyn raised for
the first time in the litigation at this trial,
like Ms. Allyn had years back sexually
harassed her boss Mr. Proctor and
Ms. Allyn violated procedures and had
a bad reputation. The jurors properly
disregarded these new claims as
unsubstantiated mud-slinging.”

“At trial, Mr. Proctor also testified for the
first time in the litigation that he did not
need to delete email as he had printed
everyone of his emails for the past 21
years which district counsel said were
all “public record.” There was no
evidence to support this new
allegation and no other witness
supported these claims and, in fact,
the district charges against Ms. Allyn
alleged the district administrator
emails were highly confidential and
related to confidential district
Appeals court affirms Allyn verdict
(against Fallbrook Elementary)
By Lucette Moramarco
Village News
July 24, 2017

...On July 11, the appeals court filed its decision which
denied the district’s appeal of the judgment and orders
of Superior Court Judge Jacqueline M. Stern,
notwithstanding the verdict...

Voice of San Diego
Court Sides With District Employee
Who Balked at Order to Purge Emails
By Ashly McGlone | July 25, 2017

A fired school district IT director who objected to orders to wipe out the email archive
system was rightfully awarded over $1 million by a jury in 2015, an appellate court
decided this month.

Elaine Allyn accused the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District of wrongful
termination in 2012, and a jury unanimously awarded her $1.05 million for lost income
and $148,000 in damages in 2015...