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GMR filing motion to dismiss lawsuit

Greenbush School site

The Greenbush-Middle River School District’s legal counsel intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit the “Middle River Annexation Property Owners Group” is bringing against it. The Roseau County Court will hold a hearing on this motion on August 27.

As new GMR Superintendent Larry Guggisberg said, the district has to wait to see how the court reviews and what answer it provides in regards to its motion. This motion to dismiss is based on existing Minnesota law.

“Depending on what point of view, if you are a school district, the end game is dismissal,” Guggisberg said. “If you are a member of the Middle River group, that is to continue this lawsuit forward.”

The school district’s attorney notified Guggisberg to tell the school board members to keep any documentation—the originals and, if available, copies– related to the Middle River building closure available. This could include notes, tape recordings, and emails.

“I don’t know where the end game is going to be for this, but in the end, if… the lawsuit progresses and there is a trial so to speak, your attorney is going to want to have all kinds of information,” Guggisberg said.

This information, Guggisberg explained, will be expected from every board member, the business manager, the former superintendent, and anyone with supervisory experience in the district.

“If you think you know where it (documentation) is, make sure that you find where it is because it may be something that may be needed in the future,” Guggisberg said.

During a hearing on July 1, Roseau County Court postponed any formal discovery—the collection of evidence– until it hears and decides on the district’s motion to dismiss at this August 27 hearing. This is the reason, Guggisberg explained, that information needs to be kept available, if discovery does take place.

As review, the “Middle River Annexation Property Owners Group” includes approximately 403 Marshall County landowners and petitioners looking to detach their land out of the Greenbush-Middle River School District and annex into the Marshall County Central School District.

At an April 15 meeting, the school board denied passing a motion to allow for this group’s annexation request by a 5-2 vote. The two board members who voted to approve this motion, Joe Melby and Laurie Stromsodt, are on this petition list.

The Middle River group is looking for the Roseau County Court to direct the GMR District to allow these petitioners to detach from the district. The group explained why, citing how the district’s decision to not give this group consent to detach and annex was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable, and violated Petitioners’ Due Process rights,” according to the lawsuit. Read the June 5 issue of The Tribune to see the group’s complete argument.

To see the complete GMR School Board story, read the July 17 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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