Judge denies Pinnacle’s requests for relief in Huntsville City Schools lawsuit

Dr. Casey Wardynski, former superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, testifies in court on Nov. 1. (Shane Hays/WHNT News 19)

Dr. Casey Wardynski, former superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, testifies in court on Nov. 1. (Shane Hays/WHNT News 19)

HUNSTVILLE, Ala. – A Madison County judge denied Pinnacle Behavioral Health’s requests for relief from Huntsville City Schools Friday.

It has to do with contract termination. The school system terminated programs and Pinnacle’s RAISE contract for alternative school services last month, citing concerns about invoices and money the district has already paid. Pinnacle had asked that the court force the school system to uphold its contract, originally set to end in July 2017. It filed this lawsuit last month.

Judge Alan Mann issued the ruling Friday, following a hearing held Tuesday.

In the ruling, he said he had reviewed the testimony from former HCS Superintendent Casey Wardynski and Pinnacle CEO Karen Lee, and chose to deny Pinnacle’s request for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief. This means the court will not require Huntsville City Schools Board of Education to uphold the contract it previously terminated.

Lee told the court Tuesday that without an injunction, Pinnacle will likely go bankrupt.  She said she has had to lay off 50 employees with 25 more to possibly come soon.  Lee said she has reached into her own pocketbook to help her business survive and maintain a minimal staff.  She also claims Huntsville City Schools is trying to hire employees away from her.

Huntsville City Schools attorneys argued they should not be required to uphold a contract they chose to terminate due to a breach.

Calls to Pinnacle’s attorney, John Wilmer, have not yet been returned.