Ex-food director sues Sylvania schools

3/17/2013
BLADE STAFF
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The director of food service, Savita Jindal defends herself during a February school board meeting at Southview High School in Sylvania.

The Blade/Lori King

The director of food service, Savita Jindal defends herself during a February school board meeting at Southview High School in Sylvania.
The director of food service, Savita Jindal defends herself during a February school board meeting at Southview High School in Sylvania.

Three weeks after she was fired by the Sylvania Board of Education, the district’s former director of food service has sued the district and two administrators, claiming they defamed her.

Savita Jindal, who had held the position since 2006, was terminated Feb. 25 by a unanimous vote for allegedly misreporting the number of free or reduced lunches served to students last school year.

In a complaint filed Thursday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Mrs. Jindal claims that Brad Rieger, superintendent, and Jane Spurgeon, executive director of human resources, misconstrued the facts and made false statements about her, harming her personal and professional reputation.

“They said things that were incorrect. The board relied on the incorrect things they said, and that resulted in my client’s termination, and that’s not right. That’s not fair,” said Thomas Sobecki, attorney for Mrs. Jindal.

Mr. Rieger said Friday that he could not comment on pending litigation.

The complaint said Mrs. Jindal’s termination followed a three-day hearing before a referee appointed by the Ohio Department of Education. That referee, retired Williams County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Gretick, recommended in August that Mrs. Jindal not be fired. He said administrators had “rushed to judgment … without fully comprehending the reimbursement procedure and the process” Mrs. Jindal used to generate numbers she believed were accurate.

The defamation suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000. The case was assigned to Judge Dean Mandros.