NMMI, Alumni trial date set for October 2014

December 5, 2013 • Local News

A judge has set a trial date for next October to rule on the remainder of a lawsuit filed by the New Mexico Military Institute against its former Alumni Association.

The Institute sued the Association in June, asking the court to seize some $5 million and additional funds held by the group.

Eddy County District Court Judge Jane Shuler-Grey ordered a court trial date for Oct. 6, 2014.

Shuler-Grey placed a temporary restraining order on the Association last month, ordering the Association to immediately stop using the Institute’s name, logos and crest.

The trial will decide the remainder of the [auth] lawsuit.

NMMI is asking the court to freeze the Association’s accounts, transfer the funds to the NMMI Foundation, order the Association to account for any funds received while acting as an agent of the Institute, and for the Association to stop representing the school.

Attorney Parker Folse, representing NMMI, said the trial date was a result of the court’s heavy schedule and availability.

“We would have liked to have had an earlier court date, but we’ll do what we can with what we’ve got,” Folse said.

The case will involve many witnesses and depositions, Folse said. The extra time would allow both sides time to prepare.

In the interim, NMMI and the Association may have a chance to resolve the issues before the trial, Folse said.

“The trial will resolve all the issues in this litigation,” Folse said. “We hope to resolve this litigation before it goes to trial, but that’s with any case.”

Although the Association was ordered to stop using the Institute’s name, logos, crest and initials, the group has continued to operate, according to its attorney Jeffrey Dahl.

The Association is prepared to move forward until the trial, Dahl said.

“We’re fine with the dates that are in the scheduling order,” Dahl said. “We’re going to move forward.”

Association President John Phinizy released a statement Thursday.

“The Alumni’s independent organization will continue to support alumni activities just as it has done for nearly (50) years,” Phinizy said in the statement.

“Our function has not changed. We believe that when all of the facts of the case are heard in court next year our position will be reaffirmed. We are currently working to satisfy the judge’s temporary injunction and will make more information publicly available when we have it.”

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