Judge denies several motions to dismiss civil suit against NHCBOE regarding Michael Kelly

After nearly four months, a judge has made a ruling in New Hanover County Board of Education's motion to dismiss civil claims in a civil case filed on behalf of the 14 victims of former teacher Michael Kelly.
New Hanover County Schools (Photo: WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — After nearly four months, a judge has made a ruling in New Hanover County Board of Education’s motion to dismiss civil claims in a civil case filed on behalf of the 14 victims of former teacher Michael Kelly.

In 2019, Kelly pleaded guilty to multiple counts of indecent liberties with a child, indecent liberties with a student, and second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

The civil suit claims the school system failed to disclose the allegations and hid Kelly’s sexual abuse of students.

On Wednesday, Judge Phyllis Gorham denied several of the motions for dismissal made by the school board, including claims of assault and battery, invasion of privacy, and negligence. The school board’s attorney argued to dismiss the claim they had breached their fiduciary duty, which is the legal obligation to protect children while they are in school. The judge denied the motion to dismiss this claim.

While many of the motions were denied, Judge Gorham did grant a few. The attorney representing former Superintendent Tim Markley wanted the judge to remove him from the lawsuit, saying the claims against him are essentially claims against the board. Gorham granted this motion. This means Markley now has the opportunity to walk away from the suit as an individual but the allegations against him will remain in the complaint.

Former Principal and Title IX Coordinator Rick Holliday will remain in the suit in his official capacity.

None of the plaintiffs have been dismissed from the suit.

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