The Fort Worth school district on Thursday filed a motion for a new trial in the wrongful termination case of former Arlington Height High School assistant principal Joe Palazzolo.

In March, a state court jury awarded the whistle-blower a $2.4 million judgment. The district’s motion contends that the trial was unfair because 271st District Court Judge John Fostel of Decatur didn’t allow the jury to hear some key evidence.

In a release, Thomas Brandt, the district’s lead attorney in the case, called the motion “an important first step in the appeals process.


“It’s unfortunate that the jury didn’t get to hear all the evidence,” he said. “Our job now is to make sure this serious mistake is corrected.”

Mark Scott, an attorney for Palazzolo, disputed the idea that the judge’s decisions on evidence were arbitrary.

“I don’t know what [Brandt] is talking about,” he said. “A trial attorney has complete control over what they present to the jury. In a week- and-a-half-long trial, what more do you want to hear?”

Scott said it’s unfair to taxpayers for the district “to continue wasting taxpayers’ dollars and resources, when 12 neutral people from a different county looked at evidence and said ‘No, FWISD was at fault,’ ” he said.


  1. Forget they had a week and a half, they have had 4 freakin’ years to prepare!!! This new development is a blatant act of continued retaliation from Judy Needham and the defunct Super, Dansby! Why not continue this charade, since it’s not your money, right? Mr. Brandt, you are the epitome of a bottom feeder lawyer. It’s not a wonder you haven’t been disbarred, along with that other unscrupulous idiot, Jason Smith! How do you all sleep at night? You are fighting a losing battle and you know it. You are going through all the legal loopholes you to prolong this, just because you can. So, you need more time to tamper with witnesses? Palazzolo still won, regardless of some witnesses going into hiding! Well, it appears to me that the next go around, if it sticks, is going to be more “Shock and Awe” that will bring down the House of Cards. You all did it to yourselves! I’m guessing that 3rd time is a charm! BOE: When are you all going to stop doing what Needham says and grow a pair? I’m talking especially to the newbies, the ever-waffling, Dr. Sutherland, and that other boob, Norm Robbins! You had the opportunity to end this ridiculous 4 year battle, but you decided to go on. Mr. Palazzolo, if I were you, I’d tell your legal team to be prepared for more horrendous lies coming from the district! People in this district don’t surprise me anymore . They will stop at nothing to invent, persecute and crucify anyone, who stands up to them and fights back. It’s time to read the writing on the wall! Shame on all of you for this continuing witch-hunt! Godspeed Mr. Palazzolo.

  2. With this board, can this announcement be a surprise. This board continues to waste taxpayer money on a fruitless attempt to justify their incredibly stupid quest to show the public that their bad behavior is justified. Their continued bad judgement shows that the axiom about knowing someone’s crazy when they continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result to be true. These board members are nuts and the head nut, of course is Needham. With this decision even the newer members have joined the group of crazies. I find it a little ironic that just 2 days after Linares oversees her 1st meeting as interim, this announcement is made considering she was initially in charge of investigating Joe. We all know the solution is a clean sweep but that won’t happen until the public gets behind the idea that this BOE is bad and does not work in the interest of the students of the FWISD, it’s employees or their constituents.

  3. Since this current story, I am appalled that this district and the BOE continue to engage in bad politics and blatant acts of malfeasance. When will this end? When is our city going to stand up and realize that our district is a failure and the negative reputation is affecting this community. Unfortunately, this city has been like this for so long that it has allowed FWISD to run in the same manner. The city and the district cancel each other out, in terms of venality! As much as the district continues to put road blocks on the Palazzolo case, the more they are opening up the big can of worms. Let’s hope this case will serve as the catalyst to end this madness once and for all.

  4. One need only look at the Board to realize the problem stems from simply being in office too long. Hiring relatives and friends, naming buildings and fields after yourself as a living memorial, annual flight of great teachers and aides, steadily declining student success. Bullying, fear, discrimination, retaliation for anyone who dare speak up. Now endless litigation rather than an admission and moving on. Four members of this Board are up for re-election in the Spring (2015): Needham, Jackson, Moss and Sutherland. Absolutely everyone of them should go. There simply MUST be a clean sweep of this entire crew for anything to begin to improve. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Surely there are parents not politicians who want to DO SOMETHING and will consider running for the Board. Time to stop crying “wolf” then vanishing when taking a stand against injustice could make all the difference. Enough of the “herd” mentality. I for one have grown tired of your whining and wishy washy ethics Ann. This termination should never have occurred. For a second time, YOU could have ended this but again chose not to. Maybe with a new trial, there will finally be press coverage and public disclosure of what has been going on for the past four years. The public needs to know.

  5. Beyond the Weekly there won’t be any coverage. The ST didn’t have anything about this the last 2 days and won’t. As I’ve said before, we need people to run against the incumbents that will be willing to expose them by using their records, the relatives, the concrete that they got at district expense, rumors, all of it. It needs to be Texas politics at it’s absolute worst to reach the voters of Ft. Worth. These miscreants must be replaced by people willing to fight for the students and employees of the district not their own special interests.

  6. We need to pool resources to start a public action committee for taxpayer revolt. We are just preaching to the crowd until the community comes together to launch a strategic and tactical plan to build a slate of new candidates for the school board. Today is my 67th birthday so I am too old and too tired to take the lead but believe me I would be willing to work as hard as I can behind the scenes to draft a plan of action and nurture it along. So, whose in? I can’t do this alone.

  7. I will support anyone running against these four fools provided the person is not promoted by the Chamber. On another note, the following is from Sutherland’s Blog. Sticking her foot in her mouth again:
    “5. Confused said on 6/27/14 – 10:21AM
    If you are so concerned about getting funds to the schools, why did the Board decide to appeal the Joe P decision?
    6. Ann replies to #5 said on 6/27/14 – 04:48PM
    The other 8 board members made this decision; I was not a part of it.”
    DUH. Why not?

    • I have never wavered in my belief that Mr. Palazzolo was terminated for reporting fraud at Arlington Heights. Please check the testimony when it comes out; the explanation is clear.

  8. Sutherland has stuck her foot in her mouth so much that it’s a wonder she is audible when she speaks. I would work to get the 4 boobs off the board! Maybe Palazzolo would consider one of the positions. I would revel in his victory and watch the board finally become transparent. New blood is needed…yesterday!

  9. Almost forgot to say this: Correct me if i am wrong, but Sutherland didn’t vote and was kept out of the discussion to request a new trial, because she said “I don’t want anyone to think I am giving info to the Palazzolo camp.” PUUUULEEEZE! This coming from the same woman, who packed her bags and left town to avoid being served for the trial! She only came back, because her lawyer son convinced her to do so. Same woman who admitted under oath to being threatened in the courtroom by the district lawyers during cross. She is, and always will be, a cowardice. She wont cone foward, because to do so, would mean she too would give herself a blackeye! In my opinion, she is done in the political arena!Her support is fluid at best!!

  10. Funny. I don’t remember PUBLIC discussion or VOTE. Moreover, how could Needham and
    and her drone Robbins participate and aid in making this decision given both testified and in fact, lied under oath? Well, as a reward, Robbins was made Board President and Sutherland is now Treasurer. Go figure.

  11. ALL board members voted for appeal??? Do they ALL know the facts or are they simply listening to Needham? Are they using the system to wear Joe out? Guess what? He is NOT backing down and his attorney is no one to play with! New board members better distance themselves from the four under Needham’s web.

  12. Many know that Robbins ran against Needham, lost, then wound up in his own newly created district and “won”. Fast forward to the allegation that one of the new Board members used a rental property address to “qualify” after evicting the family who was his tenant. Palazzolo’s attorneys discovered after the trial that the Board and MJ were formally made aware of the DOE investigation on Palazzolo’s complaints BEFORE they proposed his termination – even though Sutherland claims she “couldn’t remember” seeing either DOE letter. Then there is the entire sad episode of a large, former Board member who for over two weeks allegedly hid from P’s process servers on the promise of a job if he did not testify. There is so much here…….. and we wonder why our schools are failing. Sad even the new Board Members will not stand up. Here’s hoping that somewhere, some District Attorney or Attorney General will take interest in what has to be the Country’s most corrupt school board: FWISD.