Judge Griffen won't stop hearing on injunction in Little Rock school suit | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Judge Griffen won't stop hearing on injunction in Little Rock school suit

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 9:24 AM

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has just issued an order that means a scheduled hearing on a preliminary injunction against the state takeover of the Little Rock School District will proceed as scheduled this morning.

The judge struck the state Education Department's motion for a stay pending Arkansas Supreme Court consideration of an intermediate appeal of the judge's refusal to dismiss the suit on the claim that the state was immune from lawsuit. Griffen said the question of whether the department had acted outside its constitutional authority and arbitrarily was a clear exception to the sovereign immunity protection.

Griffen noted the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the School District takeover — former Board members and residents of the district — had not sough money damages. The state is immune from claims for money.

He said countless lawsuits had been filed against the state and this case was no different. He said, furthermore, that the Education Department had not asked the Supreme Court for a stay of further proceedings in the case.

The judge said the motion for a stay was not "well grounded in fact" nor "warranted by existing law or a good faith argument" — language taken from the rules off civil procedure. He said the motion for a stay violated tRule 11 because it was made for an improper purpose — to cause unnecessary delay.

As a result, he struck the motion for a stay on the basis of a rule that says a court may take such action on any pleading that is "redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous." He said the motion was redundant — "merely the latest in a series of efforts to delay or avoid adjudication of this litigation involving a challenge to the legality of the Jan. 28, 2015 action to dissolve the board of directors of the Little Rock School District. "

The hearing seems likely to proceed unless the state has a counter up its sleeve. Benji Hardy will be on hand.

UPDATE: I think the state is attempting to get an emergency hearing from the Arkansas Supreme Court to suspend proceedings. If they get a speedy motion, I hope somebody will light a fire under their butts on the marriage equality case, sitting without action after being decided Nov. 20. It will say a little bit about Supreme Court predisposition if they move with lightning speed here.

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