CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Chilton County judge has denied a request by a local school superintendent to stay his decision in a case involving a lawsuit filed against the public official by two employees.

In an order issued Thursday, Judge Sibley Reynolds denied Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin’s request to stay an earlier decision allowing a lawsuit against the official to move forward.

School system employees Christie Payne and Shellie Smith sued Griffin after receiving letter demanding they pay thousands of dollars they’d allegedly been paid in error over years of service.

Payne, a lunchroom manager at Verbena High School represented in the lawsuit, was told she owed $23,465.40 dating back to the 2016-17 school year.

Smith, wife of school board member Chris Smith, is the other employee represented in the suit. She said that opening the letter from the school system demanding payments was “sickening.” The letter sent to Smith and signed by the superintendent demanded that the 19-year employee repay over $33,000 they claimed she was overcompensated as a result of repeated payroll errors.

In October, a Chilton County judge considered whether to grant a request by Griffin to dismiss the suit. The superintendent had argued he was immune from the lawsuit under a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity which limits claims against the state. In an order issued less than an hour after a hearing on the matter ended, Judge Sibley Reynolds ruled sovereign immunity law did not require that the employees’ lawsuit be dismissed.

Then, in November, Lawyers for Griffin asked the Alabama Supreme Court to step in and dismiss the lawsuit despite Judge Reynolds’ ruling. The state’s highest court has not yet agreed to review Griffin’s case, but the superintendent’s legal team asked Reynolds to stay his review of the case pending potential action by the Alabama Supreme Court.

On Thursday, Reynolds denied that request in a brief order.

“Motion to stay filed by Griffin, Jason in his official capacity as super is hereby denied,” the order said.

Barring action by a higher court, the suit against Superintendent Griffin will proceed.