News

Setback in court, but coach says he will re-file lawsuit against Encinal PTO

 

A former volunteer coach for an Encinal School basketball team who is suing the Encinal School PTO and three volunteer parents said today (Nov. 30) he will re-file his complaint after a San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that his original complaint was insufficient.

Lawrence Hecimovich, the father of two boys and coach for two years of his older son's after-school team, filed a lawsuit last August against the PTO and PTO officers Kelly Perri, Julie Roth, and Leslie Burke after he was stripped of his coaching position. His lawsuit lists libel and slander, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.

In a Nov. 29 court hearing, Judge Gerald Buchwald granted the defendants' demurrer challenging the legal sufficiency of the claims against them, according to attorney Robert Muhlbach, who represents the defendants. Judge Buchwald gave Mr. Hecimovich a chance to re-file the complaint, which he would have to do by late December.

But the judge denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely -- a motion based on California's "anti-SLAPP" law, which prohibits lawsuits brought primarily for the purpose of intimidating others into making concessions rather than face a costly court fight.

Mr. Muhlbach said his clients have up to 60 days to appeal that decision. "We believe the court's ruling is erroneous, and are considering an appeal," he said.

Mr. Hecimovich is seeking reinstatement as a head coach in the Encinal basketball program, punitive damages in an unspecified amount, and attorney fees and costs associated with the lawsuit.

"I drafted the complaint not to initiate a legal action but rather to initiate a dialogue that the PTO had been avoiding, hoping to avert this dispute and return to coaching this season," Mr. Hecimovich said in an e-mail today. "Accordingly, I did not include much of what happened and in particular did not give a lot of thought as to how to frame the legal claims.

"Now that the (PTO) has rejected that overture and filed a cross-action, which the court immediately dismissed, I will proceed with an amended complaint and anticipate that any further motions to challenge the complaint will be denied and we will proceed in court."

See the Almanac's Nov. 3 article on the lawsuit.

Comments

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Posted by Let it go Larry
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Let it go Larry..you aren't going to win..all you are doing is hurting your family, your schools and your community..


Like this comment
Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Suing over a basketball coach position? Seriously? It's just an elementary school...


Like this comment
Posted by MG
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Larry,
[Portion removed; personal attacks violate terms of use.] Get over yourself and realize you there was no libel, slander, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, or fraud. If you hadn't filed the suit nobody would have known of this. [Portion removed]


Like this comment
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm

And we wonder why volunteerism is down when we have 3 PTO Officers being sued by some body that did not get their way. Unbelievable, what people will bog down our courts with today. REGARDLESS of the reason this guy gives for the suit, this is elementary school basketball!!!!


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm

He apparently has a cause of action, else all of it would have been dismissed. Some parents gang up and bully others just like children. But when adults do it, they are held accountable. GO Larry!


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Posted by acomfort
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 30, 2010 at 1:46 pm

"But the judge denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely -- a motion based on California's "anti-SLAPP" law, which prohibits lawsuits brought primarily for the purpose of intimidating others into making concessions rather than face a costly court fight."

- - - - - - - - -

"I drafted the complaint not to initiate a legal action but rather to initiate a dialogue that the PTO had been avoiding, hoping to avert this dispute and return to coaching this season," Mr. Hecimovich said

- - - - - - - - - - -

Isn't Mr. Hecimovich saying the lawsuit was/is to intimidate the the PTO into a dialogue? . . . If so, didn't he just admitted that his lawsuit falls under "anti-SLAPP" as described above?


Like this comment
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

This is the kind of thing that gives lawyers a bad name. This guy has nothing better to do than file a zillion lawsuits because that's what he does for a living...for him there are no legal fees so he has nothing to lose. Basketball for elementary school students isn't about winning and losing, but the fact that Hecimovich has taken this lawsuit to these lengths is a perfect indication of how he approached his coaching role. It's relentless aggression in a distored ratio to the situation. His action speaks louder than his words.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I have seen many caes of the "in crowd" of popular parents assuming power over major school activities and then favoring their own children and/or steam rolling over other parents ideas and participation. Good luck Larry


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm

[Post removed. Please avoid personal attacks.]


Like this comment
Posted by mp alumni
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

The case is all about inflated adult egos, not misbehaved kids!

Read the complaint for yourself, but like it or not, the events described sound totally normal to me and similar to every team I ever played for at Menlo Park schools in the 80's.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by mp parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Disgraceful. You should be ASHAMED of yourself Mr.Hecimovich. Only someone who is in it for their own ego would stoop this low -- this isn't about doing what's right for the school, the kids or the PTO. This is bullying in it's purest form and the kids will be the ones that pay the price. Are you really unable to see that ????


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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