Marple seeks suit to be heard in state court - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Marple seeks suit to be heard in state court

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Former West Virginia State Superintendent Jorea Marple wants her suit against the state Board of Education to be heard in state court if her motion to dismiss without prejudice is not granted.

Marple was hired as the state superintendent of schools in 2011 and was originally fired during a November board meeting, a few days after her husband, Darrell McGraw, lost his re-election bid for attorney general.

According to documents filed in federal court, the state Board of Education argues that since Marple alleged termination of her employment violated her rights under the United States Constitution, then original jurisdiction belongs to District Court.

The board filed a motion to dismiss the suit March 27, saying the suit failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

The motion to dismiss also said the board is immune from liability pursuant to the state Constitution. The board also maintains Marple was an at-will employee and did not have a contract of employment.

In her March 28 motion, Marple moved to dismiss the complaint without prejudice and filed a subsequent motion to remand the case back to state court if that motion to dismiss were denied.

Marple originally filed the suit Feb. 15 in Kanawha County Circuit Court stating she was fired even though she performed all her duties and even received "exemplary performance evaluations."

In her suit, Marple said the state Board of Education was subject to open meetings laws and that meant members could not discuss actions outside of meeting times and locations.

"Contrary to those provisions, president (Wade) Linger began an agenda of his own in March 2012 to replace plaintiff," the suit alleges. "The furtherance of this agenda by president Linger included contacting various board members to achieve their agreement to his proposed actions."