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Vounteer Basketball Coach Sues Local PTO

There's nothing like a lawsuit to cast a pall over just about anything.

Next Wednesday, a California court is scheduled to hear a lawsuit by a father suing a parent-teacher organization for being pushed out of his volunteer basketball coaching position. Lawrence Hecimovich, the father of two boys and longtime coach for his older son's after-school basketball team in Encinal Park, California, named three PTO members and the Hillview Middle School PTO itself in a suit filed in August in San Mateo County Superior Court. A court date has been set for next Wednesday.

The plaintiff, who is a deputy city attorney in San Francisco, cites libel, slander, fraud, and emotional distress, and demands both punitive damages and calls for "the training and resources needed to provide a safe school environment for Encinal Park students." He asserts that the "PTO's unsafe practices needlessly expose students to the risk of serious physical injury." The suit apparently stems from an incident with a student that led the PTO to call for Mr. Hecimovich's removal as coach.

The defendants aren't talking, and who knows the truth? But it reinforces the image of ours as an overly litigious culture and raises the thorny, if ridiculous, question of whether PTAs and PTOs now need liability insurance.

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