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WV high court throws out Jorea Marple firing suit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by ousted state schools superintendent Jorea Marple against the state Board of Education and its former president, after she was abruptly fired in 2012.

The opinion reversed Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky’s decision. Stucky had ruled last year that the school board and former president Wade Linger were not immune from the lawsuit.

“We do not pass judgment on the wisdom, correctness, or fairness of Dr. Marple’s termination,” Justice Menis Ketchum wrote in the opinion. But, he added, “The West Virginia Constitution, statutory law, and her employment contract all gave the Board and Mr. Linger discretion to terminate her position at their will and pleasure.”

Marple claimed her due-process rights were violated when she was fired. She accused Linger of leading a covert agenda to fire her and alleged that he and the board violated open-meetings laws, defamed her and put her in a false light.

In November 2012, state school board members voted to fire Marple, without any advance warning or mention on the board’s agenda. Later that month, in an attempt to fix possible violations of open-meetings laws, the board voted again to fire her, after listing the issue on the meeting agenda…

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