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Published: Wednesday, 6/25/2008

Lucas County court workers' union sues juvenile division

A union representing employees of the juvenile division of Lucas County Common Pleas Court filed a lawsuit against the division and its two judges after being denied access to a recent meeting.

The United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Region 2-B, and union representative Joseph Rioux filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court yesterday. The lawsuit named the juvenile division as well as judges Denise Cubbon and Connie Zemmelman as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Rioux was told to leave a June 13 "Tell It To The Judge" meeting in a public room at the justice center. Despite his contention that the meeting was open to the public, Judge Cubbon refused to start the meeting until after he left, the lawsuit said.

"Judge Cubbon and Judge Connie Zemmelman intended to 'answer questions;' 'discuss the law;' discuss court operations and programs;' and 'discuss process issues'•" the lawsuit said. "The June 13th 'Tell It To The Judge' meeting was a prearranged discussion of the public business of the public body by a majority of its members."

The suit, assigned to Judge James Bates, asks that the meeting be declared public and that Judge Cubbon be found in violation of state law. It asks for "an injunction compelling the Court and all judges therein to allow public access to any future 'Tell It To The Judge' meetings."

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