Lisa Zea, former Forest Lake Christian School principal, drops lawsuit | TheUnion.com

Lisa Zea, former Forest Lake Christian School principal, drops lawsuit

Lisa Zea, the former Forest Lake Christian School principal who was fired in March, has dropped the lawsuit against her former employer, calling the financial risk too high.

Zea, principal of the school for five years, opted to drop the defamation suit this month after speaking with her family. She said the decision stemmed from a legal move that forced her to pass through a "narrow door" — a proceeding that would include none of her evidence. If she failed to pass that door, she'd have to pay the school's legal fees.

"We just decided the financial risk was too much for us, so we decided to dismiss it," Zea said Thursday.

Andrew Ricabal, superintendent of the school, declined comment when contacted through email.

The narrow door Zea referred to comes from the state's anti-Slapp statute. That statute allows someone to file a special motion that, if granted, would dismiss a complaint stemming from petition and free speech rights.

Zea's lawsuit, filed in June, alleged that defamatory statements were made after her suspension and firing. The defendants — her former employer, superintendent and school board members — said she had no ethics, was incompetent and told staff to violate rules.

Recommended Stories For You

Zea said she intends to return next year to the job market. Any new position could be in Sacramento and outside of education.

"Our family has grown through this, which is a blessing," Zea said. "There's been an outpouring of good tidings for me."

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.