Judge dismisses civil suit against WJCC School Board

A Williamsburg-James City County General District Court judge dismissed the $25,000 suit filed against the W-JCC School Board because of a name — or lack thereof.

John and Sandra Magda filed the suit Jan. 3 in their names, stating the board owed them “legal fees, damages resulting from bullying,” on behalf of their child, according to court documents.

They never named the child, which is the reason Judge Colleen Killilea gave for dismissing the suit during a Monday afternoon hearing.

“I’m not getting to, much less addressing, any of your other claims,” Killilea said. “It’s a lack of standing on the plaintiff’s part.”

The Magdas claim the School Board and school division did not follow their own procedures when their daughter was bullied at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School in 2015, according to court documents. They detailed the events in a Bill of Particulars filed with the court March 27.

The School Board’s attorney Jeremy Capps argued that the child must be named in the suit, citing two Virginia Supreme Court cases.

Last week the Magdas submitted a letter asking to amend their documents to reflect they were suing on behalf of “minor child,” but Killilea agreed with Capps. He said that if the case went forward as is, with the child unnamed, the child could choose to sue the board again for the same reason in the future.

“The courts sometimes have specific rules,” Killilea said. “The minor should have the right to disagree or contest my ruling, or that of the Circuit Court if it goes that far.”

Killilea dismissed the case without prejudice, granting the School Board’s demurrer, which claimed that regardless of the allegations, the Magdas didn’t have any basis to sue the board in their names alone.

The Magdas have the option to refile the suit with the correct name, which they said they plan to do.

“I’m trying to protect our minor child,” John Magda said. “We are seeking further legal counsel.”

The couple represented themselves in this case, but said they’d explore hiring a lawyer for the next time around.

“Our goal is to refile,” Sandra Magda said. “We’re two years in and we’re not ready to give up.”

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

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