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Jury Awards $5.7 Million to Framed PTA Mom

Monday, February 15, 2016

pta drug plantWho knew that the PTA could be so cut-throat in today’s society!

A few  years ago, the former PTA President of Plaza Vista School in Irvine, CA, had her reputation put on the line. Apparently, a few parents weren’t too happy with comments she supposedly made and with the way she was running the organization. 

Former President, Kelli Peters, has just been awarded $5.7 million from a jury,  who had been framed by a student’s parents, Kent and Jill Easter (who are now divorced), by planting drugs in her car. 

It took the jury less than an hour to come to their verdict, so it couldn’t have been too difficult to find that the Easters acted with malice, oppression or fraud when they planted bags of marijuana, Vicodin and Percocet in Peters’ car in February 2011. Can you imagine having your reputation sullied for over 5 years because two parents were unhappy with a couple of actions by a PTA president?

The jury awarded $2.1 million in compensatory damages to Peters. Kent Easter is required to pay $1.5 million in punitive damages, while Jill Easter (who changed her name to Ava Everheart) is being required to pay $2.1 million. 

Peters said the verdict has brought closure to years of emotional turmoil and being able to stand up to people to show that justice can be served.

So what did Peters do that drove the Easters to such dramatic measures? It all started over a school dispute over their then 7-year-old son. Jill Easter was upset that her son wasn’t in front of the school when she came to pick him up. Peters told her that her son may have just been “slow to line up,” which Easter mistook as an insult against her son’s intelligence.

Soon after, Jill Easter attempted to have Peters dismissed and claimed that Peters was stalking her and her son. Kent Easter took it to a whole new level, though, when he called the cops using a fake name and accent, claiming that Peters had been driving erratically in the school parking lot.

When officers search Peters’ car, they found the planted drugs, but later determined that they were planted there by the Easters. But not before Peters had been questioned by the cops for hours at school, causing extreme emotional pain and humiliation.
Kent Easter, a Stanford-educated attorney, was convicted of felony false imprisonment in 2014 and spent 87 days in jail. His ex, Jill, pled guilty to the same charge and spent about 60 days in jail.

Amazingly, Kent Easter claimed innocent throughout the trial, but eventually backpedalled and admitted to planting the drugs. Luckily, the jury saw through both of their lack of remorse. Despite recently declaring bankruptcy, the debts from the awards from emotional distress, false imprisonment and punitive damages are not erased.

Luckily Peters has had her reputation cleared from the charges, but an apology won’t be coming from the Easters anytime soon. For whatever reason, they feel they are above the law and haven’t expressed any remorse for what they did.

Be careful, PTA Presidents! You never know who you might be dealing with!   

Original article: Jury Awards $5.7 Million to Irvine PTA Mom in Drug-Planting Case

Image credit: AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File