District 86 Board member keeps up court fight
Updated: June 29, 2012 8:29AM
A DuPage County judge will allow Hinsdale Township School District 86 Board member Dianne Barrett to file a third amended complaint in her lawsuit against the School Board while district attorneys will seek a sanction to recoup legal costs.
District 86 attorney James Petrungaro said the board will seek sanctions from Barrett and her attorneys for the defense of what he called “a meritless motion.”
District 86 board members had previously discussed the possibility of being reimbursed by Barrett for legal costs incurred.
Natalie Brouwer Potts of the Center for Open Government, which represents Barrett, believes the sanctions are a fruitless endeavor for the district.
“The plaintiff shouldn’t be punished for defending her case,” Potts said Tuesday outside the courtroom. “We expect the judge to deny the motion for sanctions.”
Judge Thomas Dudgeon heard Barrett’s request to file a third amended complaint, which includes her continued attempt to gain access to student records related to District 86’s special education department.
The motion also contained Barrett’s original plea to have access to closed session audiotapes of meetings which she was not in attendance at and included a challenge to a new board policy regarding district documents.
“Now it’s the district denying access to all records and making board members jump through illegal hoops just to get them,” Potts said of the new policy, which the School Board adopted in March.
Dudgeon has agreed to hear a amended complaint provided Barrett and her attorneys remove anything related to the access of specific student records, which Dudgeon said was settled in November when he ruled against Barrett. Dudgeon previously stated the student records were protected under the Illinois Student Records Act.
“I want to try to give you a road map of what’s in and what’s out,” Dudgeon said while going through the complaint.
Potts said she will file a third amended complaint specifically focusing on the School Board’s new document policy and Barrett’s wishes to listen to closed session audiotapes.
“We’re still in it,” Potts said.
Dudgeon will hold a status hearing July 11 and is expected to rule on the motion to sanction Barrett and her attorneys at that time.