Judge Tosses Glenda Ritz's Lawsuit Against State School Board
Agrees with Attorney General that only AG's office can sue on behalf of state officials
A Marion County Judge says the State School Superintendent does not have the legal right to file a lawsuit against other members of the State Board of Education.
While the board was in the midst of another marathon meeting, Judge Louis Rosenberg tossed out Ritz's suit which claimed that board members violated Indiana's open meetings law. Rosenberg agreed with Attorney General Greg Zoeller that only the Attorney General's office can file lawsuits on behalf of state officials or agencies " My office was not adverse to any of our clients but sought only to ensure proper legal procedures were followed,” Zoeller said in a statement emailed by his spokesman, Bryan Corbin.
Ritz had enlisted attorneys for the Department of Education in filing the lawsuit on October 22nd claiming that board members had met secretly to craft a letter to the Legislative Services Agency. That letter asked the LSA to assist in the calculation of A-to-F grades for Indiana schools, as board members believed the Education Department was taking too much time in putting out the grades. Board members say they did not hold a meeting, saying the letter was put together through emails between the members.
Zoeller has offered to mediate talks between Ritz and the board to resolve their dispute, but he also moved to have the lawsuit thrown out, citing his exclusive authority to sue on behalf of the state. "Now that this question is behind us, we encourage everyone to work to resolve their disputes in a way that respects one another and the State we all serve,” Zoeller said.
Read Judge Rosenberg's ruling.