ILNews

Zoeller moves to strike Ritz’s suit against Board of Education

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Attorney General Greg Zoeller Thursday asked a court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz against the Indiana Board of Education.

The AG’s office filed a motion to strike and asked Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg to set a hearing on its request. Zoller argues Ritz’s suit brought by Department of Education attorneys Bernice A.N. Corley and Michael G. Moore is barred by statute. Ritz, a Democrat, alleges in the suit that board members appointed by Republican governors acted illegally to strip her office of oversight of the A-F school-grading system.

The system adopted under Ritz’s predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, was widely criticized after the discovery of emails indicating the department under Bennett’s leadership improved the grades of charter schools connected to campaign donors.

The motion from Zoeller, a Republican, cites I.C. 4-6-2-1 that provides the AG “shall prosecute and defend all suits that may be instituted by or against the state of Indiana.”

“Without the consent of the Attorney General, no state official may hire or utilize private counsel to represent herself in an official capacity suit,” the motion claims. “…Therefore, as Chair of the Indiana State Board of Education and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, the representation of Plaintiff Ritz’s legal interests lies exclusively in the hands of the Attorney General,” the filing says.

Ritz’s suit claims the actions of board members, including drafting a letter to Republican legislative leaders to advocate for changing who’s in charge of school grades, violated Indiana’s Open Door law. The filing by the AG’s office makes no reference to the allegations in Ritz’s suit.

“Attorney General Zoeller noted that his office has not taken sides on the Superintendent’s Open Door Law complaint or on the underlying policy disagreement” between Ritz and the board of education, the AG’s office said in a statement.

“For purposes of this motion filed today, the Attorney General does not represent the 10 individual board members, but rather state government itself and he is asserting that legal authority.  The Attorney General will monitor any related legal matters that might arise and represent state interests as needed,” the statement said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no hearings had been scheduled in the case.

Zoeller's motion comes a day after education board member Tony Walker asked the court to dismiss the suit.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT