OPEA Sees Early Victory in OCP Lawsuit

During a docket hearing Wednesday, a judge sustained OPEA’s motion to dismiss a counter-claim filed by the Oklahoma Corrections Professionals (OCP).

“It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless,” said OPEA attorney Kevin Donelson. “That means OCP’s counter-claims against OPEA are dismissed; they now have a brief window of opportunity to correct any deficiencies and re-submit a counter-claim.”

OPEA filed a lawsuit last year against a former membership director and two former board members.

“The lawsuit was filed in an effort to retrieve private property and to protect the rights of our members,” said Sterling Zearley, OPEA Executive Director. “Our members trust us to keep the information they provide us confidential, and that’s what this lawsuit is all about. We believe OCP’s counter claim is an effort to intimidate OPEA into dropping our suit against them. We look forward to our day in court,” Zearley said.

In a surprising claim during Wednesday’s proceedings, the attorney for OCP asked the judge to call OPEA Director of Communications Mark Beutler to the stand, accusing Beutler of taking pictures of his clients in the courtroom.

“I am a seasoned journalist and have been in enough courtrooms to know taking photographs is not allowed,” Beutler said. “I had, however, responded to a text message. When I looked up, I was being summoned to the bench,” Beutler laughed.

The next proceedings are scheduled in Cleveland County Wednesday, February 25th.

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