Lawyers for defendants in a lawsuit filed by Jefferson County superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey alleging they mishandled an anonymous complaint that cost him the state superintendent job filed motions to dismiss the suit on Friday, claiming sovereign and state-agent immunity.
Three separate motions were filed, as the defendants, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Philip Cleveland, state board member Mary Scott Hunter, and three state department of education attorneys, Juliana Dean, James Ward, and Susan Crowther, have hired three attorney firms to represent them.
Defendants’ motions claim all were acting in their official capacity and all responded exactly in accordance with what the law requires. Each denied any suggestion that their handling of the anonymous complaint was done intentionally to discredit Pouncey, as his lawsuit alleges.
Hunter’s motion to dismiss said Pouncey’s allegations “would make…perhaps a great legal thriller novel,” but the defendants are not the ones who wrote the letter, only the ones who tried to “clean up the mess that the anonymous letter created.”
Key in the complaint is the packet of emails alongside the anonymous letter that was given to state board of education last July.
Emails from August through November of 2009 allegedly contain evidence that employees helped write Pouncey’s dissertation and used time at work to do so. Two former state employees whose emails were in the packet said it was false. They said they volunteered to type and help proofread Pouncey’s dissertation on their own time, but that he alone wrote it.
Pouncey received his doctorate in education from Samford University in 2010. A member of the university committee that reviewed Pouncey’s dissertation wrote state board members defending Pouncey and said she was confident that Pouncey was the sole author.
No one has figured out who sent the emails to state board of education members or how the emails…