Thomas Drops Court Demand for Injunction to Stop County From Running Civil Lawsuit Department

Maricopa County leadership is claiming another win in its fight against a lawsuit filed by County Attorney Andrew Thomas. According to the Board of Supervisors, Thomas is no longer asking the courts for an injunction to stop the county immediately from setting up its own civil lawsuit department, which the county has pretty much finished doing by now, anyway.

It's telling that since Thomas' offer to let mediators settle the dispute, no mediation has happened. Instead, Thomas' case seems to be slipping.

You can read the entire statement from the county below:   


This morning the hired lawyer for County Attorney Andrew Thomas told a superior court judge that Thomas wished to withdraw his application for a preliminary injunction that Thomas sought when he filed his lawsuit against the Board last December. The long-awaited hearing on Thomas' application previously had been scheduled for May 4, but at Thomas' request was postponed to Thursday, May 14. That hearing has now been cancelled.

Thomas' withdrawal clears the way for the Board to continue its expansion of its in-house litigation department, which last week hired a twenty-two-year veteran of the Maricopa County Attorneys' Office, Mary Cronin. District 5 Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox stated, "This is a relief for our budget planning process. We can now proceed with our civil litigation department and include it in our 2009-2010 budget, which should lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the County."

This is the second setback for Thomas in his lawsuit challenging the Board's December 2008 actions. Those actions resulted in an investigation of Thomas' conflict of interests and the creation of the County's new Office of General Litigation Services. In January 2009, the court denied Thomas' request for a temporary restraining order, which sought to reverse the Board's actions.

Now, in order to prevent suffering another defeat, Thomas has instructed his lawyers to drop his request for an injunction. Thomas did so after weeks of time-consuming and expensive discovery in preparation for the hearing, and just three days before the hearing was to commence.

"It's a shame that we've had to spend so much time and money on this case, including depositions of all of the Board members," said Supervisor Wilcox. "Hopefully this is a sign that our County Attorney plans to actually meet with the Board, which is his client, and we can try to get this case resolved."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.