FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A federal court has set a trial date and other deadlines after a former Springdale school student filed a lawsuit alleging that she was sexually harassed and assaulted while at school and that her principal and the district did nothing about it.
Alissa Cawood sued the district, principal Joseph Rollins and assistant principal Mark Oesterle in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court on November 1, 2022. The suit specifically states that it arises from “sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the deprivation of bodily integrity suffered by a young student at the hands of the Defendants.”
Judge Timothy L. Brooks held a case management hearing in the Western District of Arkansas federal court on February 28 in which he set multiple deadlines and scheduled events in the case. First, he set a jury trial window to begin on July 15, 2024.
The parties told the court that they expect the trial to take 15 days. The case may be called to commence at any time within a two-week window but the judge wrote that a more precise starting date will be determined as the trial term approaches.
If the case is bumped for some reason, the backup trial window opens on October 15, 2024. The case will be tried by a jury of eight and will require a unanimous verdict.
Judge Brooks also set various deadline for events such as an amendment of pleadings, discovery and pretrial motions. Those begin later this year and continue through July, 2024.
The court also instructed the parties to conduct a settlement conference on May 30, 2024. The parties previously met for a court-ordered conference on January 13 and agreed that a settlement was unlikely at that time.
Cawood seeks damages for multiple reasons, including emotional suffering, mental anguish, humiliation and loss of self-worth, medical expenses, loss of educational benefits and loss of employment opportunities. The filing requested a jury trial.