The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

January 3, 2013

Fired state schools chief to sue

Attorneys: Marple will seek ‘serious damages’ from board

CHARLESTON — Ex-schools superintendent Jorea Marple plans to sue the state Board of Education for what her lawyers are calling her illegal dismissal and will ask for “serious” damages, the attorneys said Wednesday.

The four veteran lawyers representing the longtime educator, administrator and author announced the plan in a letter addressed to the board, which dismissed Marple Nov. 15.

“We will be demanding that she be restored to her job with back pay,” one of the lawyers, Timothy Barber, told The Associated Press late Wednesday. “We also will be demanding damages from the board for her wrongful termination, and damages, serious damages, for harm to her reputation.”

The other lawyers representing Marple are Rudolph DiTrapano, Patrick Maroney and Andrew MacQueen, a retired circuit judge.

The alleged damage to Marple’s reputation prevents her from finding a new job, Barber said. As an alternative to damages, Barber said the lawsuit would seek a due-process hearing at which the board would have to provide specific reasons for her firing. Amid arguments that Marple was an at-will employee, Barber said previous court rulings allow such a public official to pursue both damages and the due-process alternative.

Following the firing, the board issued a statement that referred to lagging student performance and a desire to “head in a new direction with new leadership.”

But that statement also said the board was not assigning blame for the state’s poor education rankings, and that Marple was no more responsible than “governors, legislators, educators or board members for these shortcomings.”  

Wednesday’s letter provides the 30-day advance notice required by law before a state agency or official can be sued in such instances.

“However, we have not received a complaint, thus it would be inappropriate to make a comment about the matter at this time,” Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said Wednesday.

Barber said he has written the board’s lawyer separately, to ensure that all records related to the firing are preserved.

A petition filed with the state Supreme Court in November alleges that the board violated West Virginia’s open-meetings law when it fired Marple. The parents of a Boone County public school student brought that challenge, citing the lack of notice on the agenda of the board’s Nov. 15 meeting that Marple’s position would be discussed. It seeks to void her firing and block the hiring of a replacement.

But the board has since voted to hire James Phares for the job. Most recently Randolph County’s schools chief, Phares took his oath Wednesday. The board also revisited Marple’s firing and again voted to oust her in a late November meeting meant to quell any concerns over the open government law.

Two board members, Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips, voted against Marple’s firing and resigned late last month over her dismissal and how it was handled.

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • I-77 tunnel repair complete

    Repairs to an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border have been completed following a truck fire.

    July 30, 2014

  • Another tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    Another tornado has been confirmed in West Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pierpont, WVU-Parkersburg enter transfer agreement

    West Virginia University at Parkersburg has signed a transfer agreement with Pierpont Community & Technical College.

    July 30, 2014

  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads