Former Fair Manager Files Lawsuit Against Fair Board, County

By Beacon Staff

Former Flathead County Fair Manager Jay Scott has filed a lawsuit against the county and the fair board in response to the board’s February decision not to renew his contract.

Filed in Flathead County District Court on Monday by Scott’s attorney James Bartlett, the lawsuit names Flathead County, Flathead County Commission and Flathead County Fair Commission members Butch Woolard, Ted Dykstra Jr., Joy Struble and Susan Munsinger as defendants.

The legal action comes after the longtime fair manager’s contract was not renewed on Feb. 11.

One allegation in the lawsuit accuses the defendants of willfully breaching the “good faith and fair dealing” covenant in Scott’s contract, “with malice and oppression, with conscious disregard for (Scott)’s rights, statutory, constitutional and contractual, and with the intent to cause public embarrassment and humiliation.”

There are also allegations of breach of contract, negligence, violation of the right to privacy and due process of law, presenting Scott in a false light to the public and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

According to the suit, Scott lost and continues to lose income and benefits and still suffers from physical shock and mental anguish after the Feb. 11 decision not to renew his contract.

The suit states that Scott is entitled to damages and attorney fees from the defendants. Scott’s attorney also demanded a jury trial.

The Flathead County Attorney’s Office represents the county and its entities, which includes the fair commission, Deputy County Attorney Tara Fugina said. The office has not yet reviewed this lawsuit, she said.

Scott was the fair manager from 1998 until February 2010. Two fair board members – Paul Atkinson and Susan Munsinger – stepped down after the decision to dismiss Scott and Dysktra became the interim fair manager.

There has also been public criticism from a group of residents seeking to get Scott reinstated as fair manager. The group has called for the entire fair board to vacate their seats with newspaper ads and at public meetings.

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