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Attorney files partial opposition to borough dropping redistricting lawsuit

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Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 11:37 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The attorney representing two Fairbanks-area men in a lawsuit against the Alaska Redistricting Board has filed partial opposition to the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s request to drop its claims.

Documents filed in the Alaska Superior Court Monday say plaintiffs George Riley and Ron Dearborn won’t oppose the borough’s request to leave the lawsuit as long as the borough fulfills a handful of requests to ensure it doesn’t harm the remaining plaintiffs.

The borough assembly directed their attorney to drop out of the suit during a closed executive session Oct. 20. The attorney filed to drop claims that the proposed district lines drawn by the Alaska Redistricting Board’s violate the state constitution the following Tuesday.

The Riley plaintiff’s filings echo concerns regarding the closed meeting that were brought up by the public in the last week.

“The executive session at issue went substantially beyond providing advice and receiving direction,” the filings say. “Rather, the ‘direction’ was to end the litigation as a party.”

The filing asks the assembly for transparency on the decision by holding a public vote to approve the action and also that evidence is provided to show former Asssemblymember Tim Beck, whose name is on the borough’s lawsuit, agrees with the motion to dismiss the suit.

The filings argue that in light of comments made by Beck expressing disapproval of the borough’s actions, the former assemblyman’s rights are being violated.

Monday’s filing also asks for time for the Riley plaintiffs to amend their complaints to cover the borough’s dropped claims, allow for expert witnesses to be transferred and asks for the borough to clarify its pledge for continued non-financial support.

In the borough’s request to drop its claims, the borough argued it didn’t need the consent of the other parties to drop out, but the Riley plaintiff’s filing argues that since the cases were consolidated they should be able to oppose the borough’s motion.

The borough will have until Wednesday to respond to the opposition. The city of Petersburg, which also is a plaintiff in the lawsuit and dropped most of its claims, has filed non-opposition statement.

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544.

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