Posted Online: Oct. 08, 2012, 7:08 pm

Former instructor loses suit against Black Hawk College

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

A federal judge has ruled Black Hawk College was within its rights not to rehire a former teacher.

In a Sept. 28 order, U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow stated there was no evidence that suggested the school's decision was influenced by the health of Lonny Ray Wilson, as his suit alleged.

The suit was filed Oct. 6, 2010, by Mr. Wilson, 62, of Bettendorf, who taught psychology and sociology classes at Black Hawk as an adjunct instructor from the fall of 1990 to the fall of 2005.

Mr. Wilson claimed BHC unfairly restricted his work contract and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. He had requested BHC reinstate him and pay him more than $40,000 in damages.

In his suit, Mr. Wilson said health problems prompted him to cease teaching, although he told his supervisor he expected to return for the spring 2006 semester. During his time off from BHC, Mr. Wilson continued working as a school psychologist at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Association but was not in contact with Black Hawk, records state.

While Mr. Wilson was on hiatus from teaching, BHC hired a replacement instructor, according to records.

On Aug. 4, 2005, Mr. Wilson was reported missing from his home. After a three-day search by Bettendorf Police, he was found in Devils Glen Park. The story was covered by local media and viewed by Mr. Wilson's BHC supervisor who later denied inferring anything about Mr. Wilson's health from the news report, according to court records.

At a January 2006 meeting, Mr. Wilson learned his BHC contract had not been renewed. After he filed an internal complaint, Mr. Wilson was offered the chance to teach for two more semesters.

He reportedly did not respond when BHC asked to evaluate his performance, records state, and subsequently was not offered a 2007 teaching contract.