Democratic Party lawsuit back before judge

Democratic Party lawsuit back before judge

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court has returned a lawsuit over control of the state Democratic Party to a Montgomery judge for resolution.

A court document filed Thursday shows that justices dismissed an earlier appeal over jurisdiction at the defendants’ request. Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin said last month that he would wait for the decision before deciding whether to dismiss the lawsuit filed by longtime party chair Nancy Worley. The action by justices puts the lawsuit back before Griffin.

An internal power struggle has pitted longtime party leaders Worley and Joe Reed against an upstart group.

The Democratic National Committee recognizes state Rep. Chris England as the state party leader after members of the state executive committee elected him this fall. However, Worley contends the election was illegitimate and filed a lawsuit to try to block England from taking control.

Barry Ragsdale, a lawyer representing defendants, said they will ask Griffin to rule quickly on their request to dismiss the lawsuit. After Griffin rules, the case will go back up to the Supreme Court, he said.

“We are confident that the case will ultimately be dismissed,” Ragsdale wrote in an email.

Reed, the party’s longtime vice chair for minority affairs and a supporter of Worley, last month predicted the legal fight will eventually end up in federal court.