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Judge sets tentative date in RH dispute

The lawsuit to remove three Rock Hill board members may go to court Wednesday, or, it may not.

Attorneys for both sides met with visiting Judge Fred Crow of Meigs County Thursday morning at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

A tentative date of May 18 was set for the trial, but it could be pushed back until summer.

Eric Schooley, attorney for the group Citizens Against Poor Spending, plaintiffs in the case, said the trial may take as long as two weeks, and there may not be enough consecutive days available to accommodate the two-week trial.

If the trial does begin next Wednesday, those involved may find the proceedings scattered over multiple weeks.

"We're talking about making it more convenient," Schooley said. "We don't want to destroy everyone's next two or three months. August 2 seems to fit in with everyone's schedule."

Steve Rodeheffer, attorney for defendants Lavetta Sites, Wanda Jenkins and Paul R. Johnson, said the case will be decided by a jury, instead of a judge.

Unlike a criminal case where all 12 jurors must agree on a verdict, civil cases can be decided with only nine of 12 jurors in agreement.

The CAPS group filed a lawsuit in March, seeking to remove the three board members, citing some 90 acts of misdeeds in office that have allegedly taken place since Sites and Johnson were elected to the board in January 2004.

The case was originally to be heard by Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton. He requested a visiting judge hear the case because the trial would have conflicted with a murder trial that was scheduled for this month but later canceled.

This is the latest chapter in the continuing battle surrounding former superintendent Lloyd Evans. Sites, Jenkins and Johnson voted in February 2004 to non-renew Evans' contract.

Evans sued to get his job back and won but the board opted to appeal that decision.