Gregory Rolen Secures the Largest Settlement in California for a School Superintendent

$770,000 settlement negotiated with the Carmel Unified School District

San Francisco, Calif., (September 8, 2023)- Today, the law firm of Haight Brown & Bonesteel, LLP announced that partner, Gregory Rolen, Esq., secured a $770,000 settlement from the Carmel Unified School District in his representation of their former superintendent, Ted Knight.

Knight, a veteran school district administrator, was being retaliated against by the Carmel Unified School District Board of Trustees for his holding the school board accountable for maintaining ethically inappropriate practices. As a result of his unwillingness to allow these practices to continue, the Carmel Unified School District Board of Trustees placed Superintendent Knight on paid administrative leave, and began a public relations campaign intended to harm Knight’s professional reputation.

“We are pleased to have secured one of, if not the largest, monetary payment for a superintendent in California history,” said Gregory Rolen, Esq. Partner, Haight Brown & Bonesteel, LLP. “Today’s settlement is the beginning of a new reality in the superintendent/ board relationship throughout California, as this settlement agreement sets a precedent that will reverberate throughout California’s school districts.”

Prior to the settlement with the Carmel Unified School District, Rolen secured a $300,000 settlement from the Sequoia Union High School District in his representation of Dr. Darnise Williams. Additionally, Rolen represented Alum Rock Union School District Superintendent, Dr. Hilaria Bauer who was embattled, as she faced weekly special meetings by the Board of Trustees seeking to terminate her contract. Using a combination of legal maneuvers, Rolen secured the first restraining order in California public schools against a board member for his hostility towards Superintendent Bauer.

“Greg’s strategic talent is unquestioned, but it was his commitment to the righteousness of my cause that made all the difference,” said Ted Knight, former superintendent, Carmel Unified School District. “My family and I are forever grateful.”

UPDATE: In their ongoing investigation, KSBW Action News 8 recently ran a story, “Special Report: Carmel Unified, A District Divided – Part 2” – which can be viewed here. The investigative report further explores multiple instances of alleged sexual harassment going back years in the school district and the eventual historical settlement that was obtained for our client and former superintendent who alleged retaliation for doing his duty and investigating claims of sexual harassment in the district.


September 8, 2023