Judge allows EFF lawsuit against NEA to go to trial
OLYMPIA, WA-7/13/02 - In a routine decision this morning, Thurston County Superior
Court Judge Daniel Berschauer vacated his July 1 default judgment against
the National Education Association, allowing charges brought against the
union by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation to progress to trial.
The Olympia-based policy research organization filed the lawsuit against the
national union in April after staff of Washington's Public Disclosure
Commission (PDC) found the NEA guilty of violating a Washington state law
that prohibits the unauthorized use of agency fees for political activity.
The default judgment-an $800,000 fine and permanent injunction-came last
week after the NEA missed a court deadline to respond to EFF's lawsuit.
"Last week's judgment reminded the NEA that we are serious about pursuing
this case and protecting teachers' rights," said Bob Williams, EFF's
president. "We are confident we will win on the merits of our evidence in
trial and we look forward to the opportunity to get the facts out in the
The NEA's Washington state affiliate (WEA) lost an identical case last year
after an EFF investigation and complaint prompted state Attorney General
Christine Gregoire to sue the union in October 2000. The WEA was hit with
$770,000 in fines and penalties after the judge ruled the union
intentionally violated state law.
NEA attorneys claim they missed the recent court deadline because EFF filed
false documents in court. Judge Berschauer stated in today's hearing that
the NEA has no evidence to substantiate such allegations against the
A spokesman for ABC Legal Services, Inc., a national legal messenger
service, confirmed in a court declaration that the NEA was served on the
date relied upon by the court, not the later date the union claims.
"ABC Legal has an excellent reputation and our entire court system relies on
the integrity of their actions," said Williams. "Either NEA officials are
mistaken or lying about the date they were served, or the legal messenger
perjured himself. We intend to get to the bottom of that issue."
Evergreen Freedom Foundation
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