Friday, May 24, 2013
Trial Date Set For Joe Miller Lawsuit Against Fairbanks North Star Borough
Oct. 8, 2012, is the date for Miller’s attorney to make the case that the borough violated Miller’s privacy by leaking personnel documents before a lawsuit filed by media outlets.
FAIRBANKS — A trial date has been set in a privacy lawsuit filed against the Fairbanks North Star Borough by 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller.
Oct. 8, 2012, is the date for Miller’s attorney to make the case that the borough violated Miller’s privacy by leaking personnel documents before a lawsuit filed by media outlets, including the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, made the documents public.
The documents, which concerned Miller’s resignation from the borough, were released Oct. 25, 2010 through separate lawsuits filed against the borough by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Alaska Dispatch during the 2010
Senate race. Miller defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the August Republican primary but lost to Murkowski in November when she ran a write-in campaign.
Miller entered the court proceedings after a court consolidated the media lawsuits, alleging the borough released confidential personnel information before the court determined some of the documents were public record. He said it became public that he was ineligible to be rehired and only the borough, before the judge’s ruling, should have that information.
The borough said it has found no wrongdoing by its employees.
Though the trial is set for 2012, the issue could be resolved sooner.
In early August, the borough asked the judge to throw out the lawsuit, claiming Miller had yet to file evidence or move the lawsuit forward in the 10 months since the main claim in the initial lawsuit was resolved.
The motion for summary judgment took issue with Miller’s failure to produce any evidence and argued it didn’t matter either way because the prior ruling made the documents public record.
After nearly a year without any major developments, Miller’s attorney filed a protest to the summary judgment request in mid-September, asking for an additional 120 days to gather evidence under trial rules.
The borough’s legal department filed a response to Miller’s objection earlier this week, citing the same rule, which says extensions can’t be granted if the requesting party has procrastinated or stalled as a tactic, also known as dilatory conduct.
“For Miller to do nothing to further his case for ten-plus months and then claim a sudden need for discovery to oppose summary judgment is dilatory conduct,” the borough’s response said.
Miller’s court filings don’t explain why there has been no effort to gather initial evidence as allowed under trial rules.
The borough’s request for summary judgment will likely be resolved long before the October 2012 trial date.