Lawsuit against city BOE thrown out

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 3/17/17

The lawsuit against the Jasper City Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson regarding the name change of Walker High School has been dismissed.

Judge Doug Farris ruled to dismiss the lawsuit on Wednesday, …

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Lawsuit against city BOE thrown out

Posted

The lawsuit against the Jasper City Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson regarding the name change of Walker High School has been dismissed.

Judge Doug Farris ruled to dismiss the lawsuit on Wednesday, granting the motion to dismiss the original complaint filed by the plaintiff, Save Walker High School - Carla T. Hutchinson.

The plaintiff originally filed the complaint to question the legality of changing the name of Walker High School to Jasper High School. In the ruling, Farris cited the hearing held on Feb. 2 where he gave the plaintiff 15 days to file a brief in response to motions from defendants for dismissal of the case. “Plaintiff was given 15 days to address the issues raised by defendants in their motions to dismiss. Instead of doing this, plaintiff filed an amended complaint presumably in an attempt to correct the deficiencies in the original complaint. The court has carefully reviewed the plaintiff’s original complaint and amended complaint to see if plaintiff has in fact successfully corrected the deficiencies raised in defendants’ motions to dismiss. The amended complaint does not correct, or fails to address, the problems raised by defendants’ motions to dismiss. Accordingly, the amended complaint is futile and would not change the court’s decision.”

The defendants, among many claims, said the plaintiff should have filed their complaint within 21 days of the action to change the name of the high school, in order for the complaint to be considered in a court of law.

Attorneys Taylor Brooks, Eddie Jackson and Clay Carr represented the defendants in the case, with Connie Morrow representing the plaintiff.

“We’re gratified that the judge saw it as we saw it,” Eddie Jackson said.

Hutchinson continues to insist the Jasper City Board of Education broke the law by renaming the city’s high school.

“I am extremely disappointed in the outcome of these proceedings. Precedent was set by our local court system that it’s acceptable to break a law as long as you don’t get caught before the statute of limitations expire,” Hutchinson said in an emailed statement to the Eagle. “I assure you the Open Meetings Act was violated and laws were broken by the BOE when they voted to change Walker’s name without proper public notification. Our only mistake is that we did not file our suit sooner. On a positive note, I believe the public has been made aware of what happens behind closed doors and will become vigilant in participating in future endeavors by the Jasper City Board of Education and the decisions they make in the future. With failure comes success, and we will count that future vigilance as a small victory to be celebrated by all.”

Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson couldn’t be reached for comment.