Judge dismisses Brentwood Academy lawsuit, considers holding attorney in contempt


Judge dismisses Brentwood Academy lawsuit, considers holding attorney in contempt

By SARAH GRACE TAYLOR

A lawsuit filed against Brentwood Academy and several of its administrators was granted involuntary dismissal with prejudice Thursday, sparking an emergency hearing on Friday.

On Thursday attorneys for plaintiffs John and Jane Doe filed for “nonsuit without prejudice,” which allows the suit to be refiled in the future. That same day, Judge Deanna Johnson dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be reopened.

The case filed in August, alleges a minor was sexually assaulted in the locker room of the prestigious private school. Brentwood Academy and its individually named defendants have denied allegations of negligence throughout the process.

After the dismissal late on Thursday, Judge Deanna Johnson called an emergency contempt hearing for Friday afternoon.

At the hearing, Johnson said the court needed to “address” comments made by Doe’s attorney Bureon Ledbetter to the media Thursday night, floating the idea of holding him in contempt of court.

“We felt the court was forcing attorney-client protected information of the plaintiffs to be given to the defendants,” Ledbetter told The Tennessean Thursday. “So we dismissed without prejudice.”

Despite pressure from the defense, Johnson ultimately said she will not issue a bench warrant against Ledbetter, after he didn’t show up to the hearing.

Then the first hearing ended.

Nearly 30 minutes later, members of the Brentwood Academy legal team reconvened with Johnson, continuing to argue that Ledbetter is in possession of “sensitive’ materials obtained in the discovery process.

Defense attorneys also asked Johnson issue an order that Ledbetter not be allowed to speak to the media after the case was dismissed.

Johnson denied that request as well.

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