Johnson Continues To Hold Out For Larger Settlement Check

The Town of Sandwich has written its former school superintendent and attorneys who have represented her a $463,000 check—but she said on July 17 that she will not cash it.

Mary Ellen Johnson said that the town must pay a portion of the sum into her retirement account and also withhold the proper amount of taxes before issuing a check.

But the Boston attorney retained by the town’s insurance carrier to represent the Sandwich School Committee in the civil lawsuit brought and won by Dr. Johnson said the check represents the judgment stipulated by the court for the former superintendent, along with pre- and post-judgment interest.

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By issuing the check, attorney John W. Davis said, the town stops the interest clock that has been running on the judgment.

The check is made out to several parties: Dr. Johnson, her former attorney, Paul Nevins, who has a lien on the payment, and the Boston law firm that currently represents her, Shaevel & Krems.

In her case against the Sandwich School Committee (and four former and current committee members, later dropped from the case), Dr. Johnson argued that the committee breached her employment contract.       

Last year, Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse ruled that the committee indeed had breached her contract, and found that the committee owed her damages. Judge Muse later determined that Dr. Johnson was due about $434,000.

The town later offered Dr. Johnson a $500,000 settlement that came with the condition that she agree not to pursue any legal action against the town. But Dr. Johnson did not accept the settlement.

Mr. Davis said that the legal window of time for appealing Judge Muse’s decision now has elapsed, with neither the town nor Dr. Johnson filing an appeal.

As such, he said, the case has concluded.

But Dr. Johnson does not see the matter that way.

Asked July 17 about her plans, she said, “I want to meet with the town to address concerns and a fair and equitable settlement.”

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