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Judge denies motion for emergency injunction against McGraw

Judge Donna Keim

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Today Judge Donna Keim issued a ruling that denied a motion requesting an emergency injunction to prevent School Board Member Diyonne McGraw from voting in school board meetings. The request for the emergency injunction was made by local attorney Jeff Childers on behalf of plaintiffs Khanh-Lien Banko, Marlon Bruce, Thomas Cowart, and Richard McNeill.

In the ruling, Keim stated that there “appears to be a substantial likelihood of success on the merits… if McGraw does not live in the school district which she represents, District 2, she is not entitled to hold the seat for that district… By McGraw’s failure to reside in the district for which she was elected, the seat is considered vacant; McGraw’s failure to reside in District 2 violates Alachua County School Board Policy; and… Florida Constitution states that a vacancy occurs when the elected official fails to meet the residency requirement of their office.”

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However, the judge found that there is a different adequate remedy at law: quo warranto. The arguments that McGraw’s attorney made yesterday regarding quo warranto and the plaintiffs’ attorney’s responses are described here. The judge further stated that the plaintiffs have requested “that any vote made by Defendant McGraw during that time was ultra vires and void… If the Court can declare McGraw’s votes ultra vires and void, including any votes that may occur while the Plaintiffs’ Complaint is pending, then a temporary injunction is not appropriate.”

The judge also found that there was insufficient evidence that allowing McGraw to continue voting would cause irreparable harm.

However, the judge found that an injunction “would serve the interest of the public as this would avoid questions as to the validity of the actions taken by the Alachua County School Board while McGraw’s status as a School Board member is in question due to litigation regarding same.”

Since a party requesting a temporary injunction must establish all four prongs and Keim found that it only established two of them, the motion was denied. The case will now proceed on a non-emergency basis.

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