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Coach sues principal after clash over daughter’s playing time

Chad Abraham

A Basalt High teacher and volleyball coach is suing the school’s principal for allegedly shoving him during an argument over the playing time of the principal’s daughter.William Miller’s lawsuit against James Waddick, filed Tuesday in county district court, seeks more than $100,000 for emotional distress.The alleged incident happened in the gymnasium at Basalt High on Oct. 15. The lawsuit says Waddick approached Miller at the end of a varsity match against Aspen, “complaining about the amount of time that [his daughter] was allowed during the game.” Waddick screamed at Miller, “insulted him and threatened [him] and eventually touched and grabbed [Miller] and shoved him,” court papers say.Waddick did not return a message left at his home yesterday.Miller says the assault was unprovoked and was “part of continuing harassment” by Waddick, according to the lawsuit.”As principal of Basalt High School, Waddick is in a special relationship with [Miller],” the lawsuit says. “Waddick’s assault, under the circumstances of his position and relationship to the plaintiff, was an act of extreme and outrageous conduct, intentionally directed at [Miller] in his workplace and intentionally intended to inflict emotional stress and harm.”The alleged assault caused Miller “severe emotional distress by outrageous conduct that was atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” the court papers say.Miller has suffered, according to the lawsuit, “psychological harm, depression, and mental and emotional pain and suffering.”Miller, who teaches math, said yesterday that he filed the lawsuit “because I felt I needed to. It was on legal advice.” He said he has been employed at the school for three years. He is being represented by Denver-based lawyer Richard Dally. Neither Miller nor Dally would discuss the allegations of continuing harassment.”I’m going to let that come out in the evidence in the case,” Dally said. Dally, who is seeking a jury trial, didn’t know whether the principal had hired an attorney.”


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