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NIC attorney withdraws from Swayne lawsuit

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | February 15, 2023 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The attorney representing North Idaho College in the lawsuit levied by President Nick Swayne has filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing “irreconcilable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship.”

Boise-based attorney Bret Walther, who was assigned to the case by NIC’s insurance carrier, filed the motion Monday afternoon.

A Kootenai County judge is expected to consider the motion today, along with a separate motion asking the court to quash subpoenas seeking documents, emails, public record requests and other digital records related to Swayne’s hiring.

Swayne filed a lawsuit against NIC in December 2022, after the board of trustees placed him on administrative leave for no disciplinary reason. The suit contends that trustees violated the terms of his employment agreement by placing him on leave and seeks his reinstatement.

Walther also filed a response to Swayne’s lawsuit on Monday.

The response asserts that NIC is immune to claims of injuries or damages because all actions were discretionary acts by the college’s board of trustees. He pointed to the Idaho Tort Claims Act, which provides immunity for government officials and employees “acting within the course and scope of their employment and without malice or criminal intent.”

The filing also asserted that Swayne’s employment agreement “violated applicable Idaho law,” including Idaho’s open meeting laws, “and is therefore void or voidable as a result.”

Next week, a judge will also consider whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would prevent NIC from making major changes until Swayne’s lawsuit is resolved.

Unrelated to this specific lawsuit and after receiving an insufficient number of proposals in response to its previous solicitation, North Idaho College has posted to its website a request for qualifications for legal counsel.

Responses to the request are due to NIC by 2 p.m. March 6. The intended date for services to begin is April 1.

Read the full filings at cdapress.com.

Motion to withdraw

Answer to complaint for declaratory relief