STILLWATER — A Perry woman who was injured in a traffic collision last year with OSU’s former basketball coach, Eddie Sutton, has withdrawn her motion to have her lawsuit moved out of Payne County, as premature.
Teresa Jean Barnard, 44, filed a negligence lawsuit against Sutton, OSU and several other parties in August in Payne County District Court. She seeks more than $10,000 in damages resulting from her crash with Sutton’s university-owned vehicle.
In October, Barnard’s then-lead attorney, Robert P. Powell of Rex D. Brooks law firm in Oklahoma City, sought a change of venue to Oklahoma County or another county, based on alleged bias and prejudice on the part of Payne County jurors in favor of Sutton and OSU at a trial. Powell has left the Brooks’ law firm and no longer represents Barnard.
In court documents filed Friday by Barnard’s now-lead attorney Christopher Sloan of Oklahoma City and Brooks as co-counsel, Barnard said she is “in the process of retaining an expert to poll the jury pool in Payne County,” to determine if Barnard would be prejudiced by a trial in Payne County. Barnard indicated she might refile her motion for a change of venue after “evidence of actual prejudice has been fully developed.”
In a Nov. 13 response to Barnard’s attempt to have the lawsuit tried outside of Payne County, Mort G. Welch, an Oklahoma City attorney representing OSU and Sutton, said that Barnard had not produced “any evidence of bias or prejudice sufficient to prevent her from obtaining a fair trial in the forum she chose, Payne County.”
“If a plaintiff could obtain a change of trial location merely by suing OSU in Payne County, and asserting as a conclusion that Payne County jurrors will be biased in favor of OSU, no case in which OSU is a party could ever be tried in Payne County,” Welch wrote in a brief opposing change of venue from Payne County.