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Watchdog group says former schools superintendent lawsuits have cost W.Va. $63,000

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — A watchdog group says the state Department of Education has paid more than $63,000 to its legal counsel in response to lawsuits by former state schools Superintendent Jorea Marple.

Media outlets report West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse released the findings Tuesday. The group had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the department and the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management about fees paid to a Charleston law firm since November 2013.

Former superintendent Jorea Marple contends in her Kanawha County Circuit Court lawsuit that she unlawfully fired in November 2012 and that state Board of Education members secretly plotted to dismiss her, violating the state's open meetings law. The board wants the lawsuit dismissed.

Marple had filed a similar lawsuit in federal court before withdrawing it.

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