CHARLESTON -- The former state school superintendent has filed a lawsuit accusing the state Board of Education and its former president of wrongful termination.
Jorea Marple filed her lawsuit April 24 in Kanawha Circuit Court. She names the West Virginia Board of Education and L. Wade Linger Jr. as defendants.
Marple, the wife of former West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw, claims Linger began a push in early 2012 to replace Marple and recruited "allies" on the school board to do just that.
Marple originally filed a lawsuit against the state Board of Education in February 2013 accusing it of breaking open-meeting laws when she was fired in 2012. She also said board members worked in secret for months before that on the matter.
Her new lawsuit accuses Linger, who now a member of the school board, spearheaded that effort and, in doing so, worked to avoid West Virginia's open-meeting laws.
"During the course of her employment, plaintiff received exemplary performance evaluations by independent investigations which were submitted to defendants the last of which was filed in June 2012," Marple's complaint states. "No dissent to those evaluations was ever registered by any person or entity, including the defendant Board or any of its members including defendant Linger.
“Instead, she was summarily dismissed with less than 24 hours notice, irrecoverably staining a brilliant career in education over three decades."
Marple originally had filed the lawsuit in federal court, but she recently asked District Judge Thomas Johnston to dismiss that case. He did so late last month.
The new suit essentially is the same except she named Linger as a defendant.
Marple says she "has suffered an irreparable damage to her name, her reputation and her ability for future employment," according to the complaint. She also says the defendants violated public policy in regards to her firing, defamed her, cast her in a false light and deprived her of her rights in the West Virginia Constitution.
Marple claims she has suffered a loss of a lifetime reputation in the field of education, has lost her ability to gain employment at a similar level, has sustained extreme mental anguish and suffering, has been impaired in her ability to enjoy life and has had her personal and professional life status damaged.
"The actions performed and adopted by defendants were and are willful, wanton, and in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights allowing a recovery for compensatory ... and punitive damages," the complaint states.
Marple is demanding "a full hearing" with the members of the state school board "to establish the exact charges that led to her termination, including her response to each allegation."
Marple is being represented by Charleston attorneys Timothy N. Barber, Pat Maroney and Andrew MacQueen III. The case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Court Judge James Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-731