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Judge blocks suit over U. Iowa presidential search meetings

Published: Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 10:37 a.m. CDT

IOWA CITY (AP) — A judge has dismissed an open meetings lawsuit challenging the University of Iowa presidential search following the death of the retired professor who filed it.

Judge Ian Thornhill blocked a request by Harold Hammond’s estate to assign the case to a new plantiff, retired professor John Menninger.

The ruling cancels a trial scheduled for next month and avoids a decision about the merits of claims that search committee members violated the law by meeting outside Iowa and holding improperly closed sessions.

A second lawsuit over the 2015 search continues. That case alleges Board of Regents members violated the law when they met privately with their eventual choice, Bruce Harreld.

Thornhill says Hammond’s attorney waited too long to take action following Hammond’s death last June. He says allowing the case to proceed would be “prejudicial” to the defendants.

Hammond successfully brought a similar suit after the previous search.

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