The lawsuit claims that state board President Wade Linger began an agenda nine months before Marple was fired to replace her and contacted various board members about the plan. None of those efforts were revealed to Marple, the full membership of the board or the public, as required by law, according to the complaint.
During a regular board meeting Nov. 15, 2012, the board spent more than an hour in closed session without Marple and then returned with one amendment to the agenda: a motion to end her employment immediately. The motion was approved 5-2.
The board later revisited that process, and officially placed Marple's termination on a later agenda and opened it up to the public for discussion. That was an attempt to remedy any violations of the Open Meetings Law that might have occurred during the first meeting.
Linger and board members Gayle Manchin, Robert Dunlevy, William White, Michael Green and Lloyd Jackson voted to terminate Marple. Members Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips voted against her firing and resigned from the board.
Only Jackson, who was out of town during the first meeting, missed the initial vote.
The Board of Education argues that Marple was a will-and-pleasure employee and denies it damaged her reputation. The board also says that as a state agency, it's immune from liability.
The school board's actions were "willful, wanton, and in reckless disregard" of Marple's rights, the lawsuit states.
Earlier this month, Marple's attorneys filed a request that her suit be heard in state court rather than federal court, saying the case's issues focus on West Virginia law.
The Board of Education originally had the case moved to federal court, saying Marple claimed that her federal due process rights were violated.
Judge Thomas Johnston will hear the case.Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.