CHARLESTON –- Brian Powell persuaded the state Supreme Court to reinstate his teaching license but couldn't persuade the Justices to award back pay and legal fees.
On June 24, the Court sided with state superintendent of schools Steven Paine in rejecting Powell's claim for wages and fees.
Powell lost his job as Moorefield High science teacher and football coach in 2005 after roughly disciplining his 9-year-old son.
Facing a felony charge, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery. He agreed to pay a fine and spend 30 days in jail on weekends.
Hardy County's school superintendent notified Paine, who arranged a hearing of his professional practices panel.
Panelists recommended that Paine suspend him for four years, and Paine did so.
Powell appealed to Kanawha Circuit Court. Judge Duke Bloom turned him down in 2006.
In 2007, the Supreme Court issued a mandate for Bloom to reinstate Powell. The Justices found Paine failed to connect Powell's cruelty at home to his job at school.
Bloom ordered Paine to reinstate Powell's license. When Paine complied, Powell asked Bloom for back wages, legal fees and other costs.
Bloom decided last year that the mandate didn't provide for those.
Powell appealed, but Powell II didn't turn out as well as Powell I.
The Justices wrote, "Upon reviewing the order of the circuit court, we find that the circuit court did exactly what it was directed to do in Powell I."
They classed Powell I as a limited remand, not a general one.
"A general remand gives a circuit court authority to address all matters, as long as the actions are consistent with the remand language," they wrote.
"A limited remand, however, explicitly outlines the issues to be addressed by the circuit court," they wrote.
They called Powell I simple and direct, writing that Bloom had no authority or directive to do anything more than reinstate the license.
"The circuit court was correct in limiting its actions to the directions this Court included in the mandate," they wrote.
Deputy attorney general Kelli Talbott and assistant attorney general Katherine Campbell represented Paine. Ron Tucker of Fairmont represented Powell.