PINEVILLE — A lawsuit between Louisiana College and its former president could be settled outside of court, according to reports.
What remains to be seen is whether claims in the lawsuit will go to mediation per the recommendation of a judge or arbitrator, according to a Dec. 2 report by The Advertiser.
Joe Aguillard, who was president of the school for nine years until 2014, filed a suit against the school and its current president, Rick Brewer, who took over in 2015, and private investigator Don Benton Connor Sr. in the 9th Judicial District Court.
Aguillard has alleged that Brewer and Connor conspired against Aguillard and RSUI Indemnity Company, an insurance-underwriting company, in late September.
Aguillard is seeking damages from Brewer, who is reported to have committed assault and battery to inflict emotional distress, and breach of contract and conversion, among other things, as reported by The Advertiser.
In a separate Advertiser report from Sept. 28, 2016, Aguillard alleged the college "breached" its contract with him by not paying for his cellphone or supply costs, ceasing payment of his Council for National Policy membership dues, and by "'continuously' denying him 'adequate' office space and supplies.”
Aguillard’s time as president at Louisiana College came to an end in 2014 after the “general pattern and practice of behavior in undermining the administration” of the college, the Advertiser reported on Dec. 2. He is also accused of making false and defamatory statements about Louisiana College, Brewer, LC administrators, and past and present Louisiana College students.
While he may not have been president, however, Aguillard still maintained ties with the school as president emeritus as well as a tenured faculty member. He was eventually stripped of the honorary title by the Louisiana College Board of Trustees in April 2016.
A report from Faith on View alleged that Aguillard was in possession of a college-owned laptop that contained files that he was attempting to use to undermine the new president. The report said that there was an apparent plot by Aguillard and Tommy French, a former board of trustees chairman, to overthrow Brewer. Because of this, Brewer is reported to have hired a private investigator to find out more information about the alleged plot.
According to the Dec. 2 Advertiser report, an investigation was undertaken by Connor despite not naming him. It found that an “anonymous package” — which had information within it that had been circulated among the Louisiana College alumni and trustees, and the Louisiana Baptist community at large — had originated from Aguillard’s Louisiana College-issued laptop.
Aguillard claimed in his lawsuit that Connor confronted him to obtain the laptop, which required him to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
As Aguillard was an at-will employee while at Louisiana College after his presidency, which means that his working relationship with the school can end without providing a reason at any time, the college undertook the faculty-dismissal procedures. This included a hearing on Aguillard’s proposed termination.
The Advertiser reported that the issue at hand is whether a judge or an arbitrator should decide which of the issues within Aguillard’s lawsuit should be subject to mediation. In the case of a go-between or mediator, the parties involved can settle an issue outside of court through the assistance of a third-party arbitrator.
Even though most of the claims are expected to be tried before Judge Thomas Yeager, according to The Advertiser, it is yet to be determined whether the employment claims will be undertaken by a mediator.