Appeals court upholds former principal's suit against Mountain Empire School District

Argued retaliation after sexual harassment claim

SAN DIEGO - The California Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of an educator who had sued her former employer.

Diane Young Nye was principal at Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley when she reported sexual harassment by her superintendent. It was 2006.

"He placed me in a position in my job expecting that I would return favors," she said.

She refused and said that six other women also came forward with complaints. There was an investigation and the superintendent retired.

Fifteen months later, his replacement demoted Young on grounds that she was incompetent. She argued it was retaliation and sued. She won.

Dave Miller is her attorney. 

"Initially, the judge awarded Diane $150,000," he said.

Mountain Empire appealed several times and lost. The dollar amount with attorney's fees keeps climbing.

"Today, the final total is about $803,000," said Miller. "They could have saved a lot of money by just settling with her and recognizing that they did something wrong."

Young, who recently married a retired sheriff's deputy who was a key witness and now goes by Nye, is not worried about when the money is paid.

"I've learned not to be frustrated," she said. "The thing for me that's most important is that we won the case. It's not a million dollars. It's something to make a statement and send a message."

Would she go through this again?

"Yes, I was very bitter in the beginning but when I look back now I'm extremely satisfied," she said.

10News contacted the attorneys for the district, seeking comment, but there was none.

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