Rob Jackstadt and Merry Rhoades Obtain Jury Verdict in Favor of Illinois School District in Retaliation Lawsuit

Jun 9, 2005

Tueth Keeney attorneys Robert Jackstadt and Merry Rhoades recently obtained a defendants”™ verdict on a retaliation lawsuit based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The federal jury found in favor of the Edwardsville School District on Thursday June 9, 2005 in the Federal Courthouse in East St. Louis. In the lawsuit, a substitute teacher alleged that the School District retaliated against her when she requested special education services for her son. After hearing three days of testimony and a deliberation of less than two hours, the jury rendered a unanimous verdict in favor of the School District. The substitute teacher originally requested money against the School District in excess of $100,000, for lost salary and emotional damages. The federal court Judge dismissed the emotional distress claims prior to the trial.

Firm attorneys, Robert L. Jackstadt and Merry C. Rhoades tried the case on behalf of the school district.

Robert Jackstadt is a founding Shareholder of the Firm of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C. Prior to founding the Firm, Rob was a partner at Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin in its St. Louis office. Rob serves on the Firm’s Management Committee. Rob is a former member of the Edwardsville School Board, a former trustee and planning commission member for the Village of Glen Carbon and is currently the Mayor of the Village of Glen Carbon- a part time position.

Rob practices in the areas of commercial, construction and education litigation. Rob has tried to a conclusion many jury and non-jury cases in federal and state courts located in Illinois and Missouri. Rob’s trial experience includes litigation involving tax increment financing (“TIF”) districts, equipment leases, condemnation, construction, performance and payment bonds, non-competition agreements, securities and mechanic’s liens. Rob has negotiated many construction contracts, including architect agreements, construction manager agreements, and general contractor agreements.

Merry C. Rhoades focuses her practice on general counsel services with an emphasis on special education law and student-related issues, school district reorganization matters and tax and finance matters. Because of her more than 20 years experience in representing Illinois public school districts, she has key insights regarding the day-to-day operation of the school district. She has extensive experience in special education administrative hearings, civil rights litigation, state and federal court litigation at the trial and appellate levels, and state administrative hearings.

Merry is an active member of several school related organizations. She is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys Executive Committee and currently serves as its 1st Vice Chairperson and she is aservice member to the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA). She serves as an Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) PRESS advisory committee member. Merry has been asked to speak for such organizations as the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE), the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), the Illinois Principal’s Association (IPA) and the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) on numerous school related issues.

Tueth Keeney is proud to be one of the state’s largest Illinois education law practices. The firm has one of the most experienced groups of attorneys in Central and Southern Illinois dedicated to serving public schools. We regularly represent nearly 150 public school districts, including many districts in Central and Southern Illinois. Our Firm is also regularly appointed by insurers of educational institutions to represent districts in complex or difficult cases involving school or civil rights laws.