A lawsuit filed in Superior Court against the Haines Borough and assembly member Greg Goodman will proceed with a series of briefs due by mid-February.
Karen Hess, a write-in candidate in the October assembly election, has challenged that her opponent Goodman did not meet assembly candidate residency requirements.
"This is being handled by the judge, at this point, as what’s called an administrative appeal," said borough attorney Brooks Chandler. "Therefore, at least the initial phase of the case from here on out is going to be a brief from Ms. Hess (by Friday, Jan. 14), a response brief from the borough (by Friday, Feb. 4) and then a reply to that response, by Ms. Hess (by Wednesday, Feb. 16)."
Z. Kent Sullivan of Baxter, Bruce & Sullivan in Juneau is representing Hess and said the brief due by Jan. 14 will argue "why it’s believed that the borough’s actions were inappropriate" in seating Goodman after his election win.
"The case has been divided, procedurally, into two, separate parts," Sullivan said. "The first part is the appeal of the initial issues, as between the borough and Ms. Hess concerning the election certification and Mr. Goodman’s entitlement to run in the election, basically the appeal of all of that. The rest of the case is causes of action against Mr. Goodman and whether any damages may be appropriate."
He said the briefs would be "put before the court on somewhat of an expedited time frame."
Chandler said Goodman would have the same Feb. 4 deadline as the borough to file a response brief. Goodman’s attorney as of Jan. 3 is Paul H. Grant, according to an online court docket.
In a Dec. 16 memo, Chandler wrote that the borough’s "exposure to damages will be limited to the plaintiff’s attorney fees" and said "hopefully" a court decision would be delivered by April. He said Goodman’s votes on the assembly would stand, no matter what ruling the court issues.
"There absolutely will not be any problem regarding votes that he’s made," Chandler said. "His election has been certified, so he is a member of the borough assembly."