Judge dismisses Rude's lawsuit against Raskin, district
A Mower County judge dismissed Curt Rude's civil defamation lawsuit against former Superintendent Candace Raskin and Austin Public Schools on Monday, finding that the complaints weren't properly served.
Mower County District Judge Fred Wellmann also did not award Austin Public Schools' request for attorney's fees.
Rude's attorney, Andrea Niesen of Rochester, said Monday afternoon that she had not seen the order and would not comment on the decision.
Austin Superintendent David Krenz said he had not seen the decision either, but, after learning the outcome, said, "That was a good decision."
Rude sought damages against the district and Raskin, alleging she deliberately sought to damage his reputation from the time he was elected to the Austin Public Schools board in November 2007 to June 2008. Rude brought the suit in December 2009. He claimed that on several occasions, Raskin claimed that he threatened her physically and that he used his position as a police officer to intimidate her, among other things. He charged that Raskin's statements caused him emotional distress and that the school district was indirectly responsible because Raskin was the superintendent, a district employee, at the time.
The district's and Raskin's legal counsel argued that since the civil complaints were served on the district's human resources director, but not on an actual member of the school board, that the court couldn't consider the claims and should therefore dismiss the suit.
Niesen argued that Raskin was properly served and that the suit had sufficient standing.
The school board removed Rude from the school board in March, after an arbitrator said the lawsuit created an conflict of interest since he would benefit from any possible settlement, which the school board would ultimately approve.