Judge nixes lawsuit involving two SD 122 trustees
BY ERIN GALLAGHER Correspondent March 6, 2014 10:14PM
Updated: April 8, 2014 6:42AM
A federal judge in Chicago has dismissed the civil rights lawsuit that New Lenox School District 122 Board member Kathy Miller filed a year ago against board member Maureen Broderick.
In a Feb. 26 decision, U.S. District Court Judge John Darrah ruled that Broderick was protected by “quasi-judicial immunity” when she voted in January 2013 as a member of the District 122 election board to remove Kathy Miller from the school board ballot — regardless of Broderick’s actions prior to that vote. Miller intends to appeal the ruling.
Darrah determined that Broderick was permitted to vote on the challenge as a member of the election board — a post that gives her quasi-judicial immunity, which is extended to public officials “who perform acts ‘functionally comparable’ to judges.”
Miller claimed that Broderick’s actions amounted to a conflict of interest, violating her civil rights.
The three-member election board voted 2-1, against its attorney’s advice, to remove Miller’s name from the April 2013 election ballot because of a couple of clerical errors. Miller successfully appealed that decision in Will County Circuit Court and was reinstated to the ballot, winning re-election to the school board.
Miller’s attorney, Mike Foley, said because immunity issues are immediately appealable, they expected the case to continue no matter how Darrah ruled last month.
“I just want to make it clear that this doesn’t mean she didn’t do anything wrong or that we are done,” Miller said. “This isn’t about money. The court ruling encourages her to continue her actions, but we will keep going to prevent this and prevent her from doing this to someone else.”
Broderick responded by email to a request for comment on last month’s ruling.
“I applaud the courts for throwing out, in my opinion, a frivolous and politically motivated lawsuit,” she wrote.