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FHMBK Defends Principals in “Candy Cane” Case Appeal

FHMBK Defends Two Elementary School Principals in “Candy Cane”

Case Appeal at U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans

The much-discussed “Candy Cane” case is scheduled to be argued on Monday, May 23 in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans. Thomas Brandt, Joshua Skinner and David Upham of the Dallas law firm of Fanning, Harper, Martinson, Brandt and Kutchin P.C. (FHMBK) are defending two elementary school principals who have been personally sued for punitive damages despite the fact that they are alleged to have followed the school’s policy, the directions of their supervisors and the advice of the school’s lawyers.  Formally titled Morgan et al v. Swanson and Bomchill, Case No. 09-40373, the case will be orally argued by lead counsel Thomas Brandt in front of the entire assembled 17-member U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.   

Two former solicitor generals of the United States, Paul Clement and Kenneth Starr, will be arguing against Mr. Brandt.  Starr, who now serves as president of Baylor University, led the impeachment proceedings against former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

This case originated in 2001 and involves two Plano Independent School District elementary principals who, in separate incidents, are alleged to have prevented some school children’s attempts to distribute religious items to their classmates during school hours.

In April 2006, FHMBK agreed to defend one of the individual defendants, Jackie Bomchill, former principal of Rasor Elementary School in Plano. In April 2007, FHMBK added the defense of another elementary school principal, Lynn Swanson of Thomas Elementary School.

It’s anticipated that the 5th Circuit Court could take approximately three to six months to reach a decision in the case.

Click here to see related article in the Rising Stars edition of Super Lawyers magazine.