State Supreme Court dismisses ASU lawsuit - The Herald: News

State Supreme Court dismisses ASU lawsuit

A-State Herald Staff Report | Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 7:24 pm

Last week the Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed a case made against Arkansas State University by a former student. The decision reversed a lower court’s decision to hear the case, and granted A-State sovereign immunity.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision and look forward to returning to Circuit Court to dispose of the remaining claim,” ASU System General Counsel Brad Phelps said in a statement.

Kia McCoy, of Little Rock, sued Lonnie Williams, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs,  and Patience Bartunek, who taught in the nursing program at the time McCoy was enrolled.

McCoy alleges that she was denied due process under the Arkansas Constitution and violated the Freedom of Information Act. According to court documents, McCoy was a student in the nursing program from August 2014 until May 2015. In September 2015, she took and passed a re-entry exam, but received an email from ASU soon after stating she had violated school policy.

She learned that the University had found photographs of her quiz on another students phone. McCoy was accused of taking the photographs and sending them to another student.

After the hearing, McCoy was suspended from the University until August 2016. She appealed her suspension, but Lonnie Williams denied the appeal. McCoy’s attorney submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the University, but the request was denied until McCoy consented to the document’s release. The University stated that the FOIA claim was denied because the records requested were “shielded from disclosure.”

McCoy petitioned for declaratory judgement (a judgement which determines the rights of parties without awarding damages), an injunction clearing her name and an order reinstating her to the nursing program.

The Supreme Court overturned the circuit court’s denial to dismiss the case with a 4-1 ruling, saying McCoy didn’t demonstrate a due process violation that was “sufficient to avoid sovereign immunity.”

The case will be dismissed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.