Davenport hearing to be rescheduled

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

A hearing to determine the eligibility of CHHS senior standout Maori Davenport is being rescheduled.

Circuit Judge Sony Reagan ordered both parties to attend a scheduling conference on Friday to determine a new date for the hearing and to hash out the discovery process.

“He ordered the parties to get together to see what discovery was necessary to get things streamlined for trial,” said Carl Cole, attorney for the Davenports. “The typical civil law suit involves discovery in normally three different ways: interrogatories, which are questions that each party has to answer under oath; request for documents that the other side has in their possession to review; and depositions, where we take sworn testimony outside of the court for use at a later date.”

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Cole said the depositions specifically are being sought in this case with numerous people needing to testify.

“Considering how many members are potentially involved in this – 15 or 16 members of Central Board, other employees of the AHSAA – you don’t want to have to have each of those people all testifying at the hearing.”

The Davenports filed a motion Tuesday to have the scheduling conference and to move the hearing date after the AHSAA filed motions to have the case dismissed or transferred to Montgomery County.

Cole said the family is opposing the change of venue and the dismissal of the case.

“The venue stays in Pike County until, if and when, the judge issues a ruling changing venues based on the request,” Cole said. “I don’t think there’s strong grounds for moving the case. We’re going to file a response requesting in the near future that it be kept in Pike County.”

Both the AHSAA and the Davenports are seeking to bring Charles Henderson High School in as a party to the case.

Cole said he des not represent CHHS and can’t simply bring them into the civil case as a plaintiff, but he and the Davenports have requested that the high school be added as a defendant.

“That’s complicated,” Cole said. “Essentially, what the AHSAA has done over the years is claim to be private or voluntary, but they subsist off public funds and use public facilities, and when they seek to enforce punishments against athletes, they use public schools as their proxy.”

So even though Charles Henderson High School administrators and officials have been fighting for Davenport’s eligibility, the school would be brought in as a defendant alongside AHSAA.

“It more easily shows the nature of the relationship that AHSAA has with the high schools.,” Cole said. “Assuming we prevail, we’ll need an order from the court ordering CHHS to take whatever action, not just the AHSAA. For the judge to be able to order something, he has to have jurisdiction over the parties. If the court needs to order the AHSAA to take some action, they’ll have to do something through CHHS, so it is prudent to make them a party.”