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OnTrack: Founder's departure unrelated to lawsuits

In response to last week’s column about a pair ofsince-settled OnTrack lawsuits alleging inappropriate behavior on the part of founder and former executive director Rita Sullivan, current executive director Alan Ledford issued the following statement:

Dr. Rita Sullivan’s separation from OnTrack was not the result of either of the lawsuits filed by former employees. As Dr. Sullivan and OnTrack indicated in their media release prior to the filing of any lawsuits:

“On Track and Dr. Rita Sullivan jointly have announced the resolution of their differences concerning Dr. Sullivan’s employment with On Track. They wish to affirm their mutual respect and appreciation for their past endeavors and their mutual commitment to the best interests of Oregon’s children and families. On Track expresses its sincere appreciation for the valuable services and leadership that Dr. Sullivan has provided to the organization for the past 39 years. Dr. Sullivan expresses in return her strong support for the mission and work of On Track in its service to vulnerable children and families.”

OnTrack’s name change was unrelated to either lawsuit. The purpose of the name change is to better identify the OnTrack addiction services organization from a number of other “OnTrack” entities.

Tonia Moro’s and Ric Nagel’s dismissals from the lawsuit were unrelated to their tenure as OnTrack employees. They were originally hired as interim management. Their tenure was intended from the inception to last only until a permanent executive director was hired. Both individuals were dismissed voluntarily from the lawsuit by the claimants.

Only the earlier filed case went to mediation. The second filed case was dismissed by the court because, after filing the complaint, the claimants failed to move the case forward. That case was dismissed without prejudice to refile if the claimants wished to do so. They chose not to refile their complaint and their claims are now time-barred.

Two of the claimants in the earlier filed case agreed to dismiss their claims before the other three claimants participated in mediation. Those two claimants did not receive any money in exchange for the dismissal of their claims. Rather, the only agreement by the defendants was that they would not seek to recover their costs and attorney fees which they would be entitled to if the claims were determined by the court to be frivolous.

The three claimants who went to mediation received settlement amounts that were only a fraction of what they asked for in their complaints. OnTrack’s insurer made a business decision to go ahead and settle the claims because the settlement amounts totaled substantially less than the insurer would have paid in attorney fees to continue defending against those claims through a jury trial.

No individual board members were ever named as defendants in the lawsuit. The listing of the “Board of Directors of OnTrack, Inc.” as a defendant was taken out of the complaint when the claimants’ original attorney was replaced by a new attorney. The new attorney was an experienced attorney who understood “Board of Directors” is not a separate legal entity capable of being sued. Furthermore, five of the board members continued their service to the board through the executive director transition, and three still serve as board members.

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