Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Election Suit Trial Date Set For 2012

Unless the two sides can come to an agreement, it will be more than a year before a lawsuit filed by former Putnam County Election Administrator Nancy Boman comes to trial in federal court. Attorney John Harris, who is representing the local election commission, says the date for trial on those parts of the lawsuit that have not been thrown out, is September of 2012.  Boman, along with former election administrators in several other Tennessee counties, are suing based on the claim that they were removed from their jobs in 2009 by Republican-controlled county election commissions, only because of their perceived political party affiliation. Back in December, a judge ruled that the Republican election commissioners named in the lawsuit were not subject to liability for monetary damages sought, in their official capacities as "state actors". And, although attorneys for the former administrators filed an appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, that appeal has now been dismissed as being premature, according to Harris. He says more proceedings must be held at the trial court level before an appeal can be considered at the appellate level, but also said that the dismissal of the appeal does not prohibit the parties from appealing any final judgment in the case. Harris says the trial court has now entered an order setting out various things that have to be done over the next year and a half, and the case is now set for trial in September, 2012. Harris says the only significant remaining issue to be decided at the trial is whether it is allowable under federal law to replace an administrator of elections -- based on party affiliation.