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Texas intervenes in Llano County Library lawsuit; motion to dismiss filed

Llano County Library lawsuit motion to dismiss

Page one of a Motion to Dismiss filed in the Leila Green Little et.al., Plaintiffs v. Llano County et.al., Defendants civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, Austin Division. Also listed is the state of Texas as intervenor-defendant on behalf of Llano County.

A joint motion to dismiss a civil case against Llano County and its library system was filed Wednesday, June 8, in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, Austin Division, with the state of Texas listed as an intervenor-defendant along with “Llano County, et.al., Defendants.”

In conjunction with the Motion to Dismiss, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a Motion to Intervene asking District Judge Robert Pitman to allow the state to intervene on behalf of Llano County in the case.

Also, Judge Pitman’s schedule lists a preliminary injunction hearing set for 9 a.m. July 7 in his Austin courtroom, No. 4. Plaintiff’s attorneys BraunHagey & Borden LLP filed a preliminary injunction against the Llano County library system on May 9. To prevail, the motion must show “we are legally likely to win,” attorney Ellen Leonida, head of the plaintiffs’ legal team, told DailyTrib.com at the time.

Meanwhile, at a regular meeting set for 9 a.m. Monday, June 13, the Llano County Commissioners Court is set to discuss allocating $150,000 out of county funds to fight the lawsuit charging the county violated the First and 14th Amendments in removing books from library shelves and other actions. The case was filed on Monday, April 25.

An agenda item to discuss legal defense for the county was on a previous Commissioners Court agenda. At a special meeting held May 12, the county removed the agenda item. The Commissioners Court adjourned without taking any other action.

“I think we have made arrangements that will not require any expenditure of resources,” County Attorney Dwain Rogers told commissioners at the time. “You can pull the item.”

The lawsuit, “Little et. al., v. Llano County et. al.,” was filed after Llano County officials removed books from library shelves, stopped buying new books, switched the library system’s electronic online reading service, dissolved and recreated a library advisory board, and fired the head librarian of the Kingsland Branch Library. (The firing of the librarian is not part of the plaintiffs’ suit. Librarian Suzette Baker may be filing her own suit for wrongful termination.)

The civil suit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Leila Green Little, Jeanne Puryear, Kathy Kennedy, Rebecca Jones, Richard Day, Cynthia Waring, and Diane Moster, all of whom are Llano County residents and users of the library system. 

Defendants are Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham; county Commissioners Jerry Don Moss, Peter Jones, Linda Raschke, and Mike Sandoval; library system Director Amber Milum; and Library Advisory Board members Gay Baskin, Bonnie Wallace, Rochelle Wells, and Rhonda Schnieder.

The Motion to Dismiss filed by defendants conversely claims that the plaintiffs have no standing. The 16-page document claims that the plaintiffs’ claims are moot and they “have no liberty or property interested in the purported wrong that they claim to be trying to right.”

“Furthermore, the purported violation of their free-speech rights is not actionable curtailment, but speech by the government itself that is not subject to the fetters they seek to impose,” the motion reads. “The Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the Plaintiffs’ claims, which at any rate do not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For both of those reasons, the Court should dismiss the complaint with prejudice.”

None of the representatives for the plaintiffs or defendants could be reached by phone before publication of this story.

suzanne@thepicayune.com

3 thoughts on “Texas intervenes in Llano County Library lawsuit; motion to dismiss filed

  1. Parents should control what children read, not the library. Not having different points of views and values available in a public library is a very autocratic approach to public oppoinion.

  2. Ken Paxton is as corrupt as they come. He should not be allowed anywhere near any court of law, period.

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