6-19-14 Court Dismisses Elections Challenge against Congressional Candidate Chuck Wooten

Published on June 19, 2014

Judge Gus Aragón of the Pima County Superior Court dismissed the elections challenge filed against Chuck Wooten, candidate for Congress in CD-2, entering the order of dismissal on June 18th. Wooten’s counsel, Jack Wilenchik, moved to dismiss the case and argued that the lawsuit was “groundless” and filed in bad faith because the law was clear. Judge Aragón granted the Motion to Dismiss and ruled that the law was “clear and unambiguous” after just 30 minutes of argument, then left the case open for Mr. Wooten to seek his fees from the Plaintiffs on the grounds that the lawsuit was filed in bad faith. The nominal Plaintiffs in the case, Shaun McClusky and Lori Dzuban-Øien, are known affiliates of Mr. Wooten’s opponent Martha McSally, and Mr. Wooten and his attorney believe that they were selected by Mrs. McSally’s campaign to be Plaintiffs because Mrs. McSally did not want to put her name on the lawsuit. The Plaintiffs were represented by five attorneys, four of whom were from Snell and Wilmer, a costly Phoenix law firm. Mrs. McSally’s campaign has raised over a million dollars according to FEC reports. Mr. Wooten’s campaign, which has reported little more than a thousand dollars in cash on hand, was represented by a single attorney, Jack Wilenchik of Wilenchik & Bartness, throughout the proceedings. Wilenchik called the challenge “frivolous” and stated that “100 out of 100 attorneys would agree that the lawsuit was groundless and should not have been filed.” He also found it unusual that Mr. McClusky–who appeared in court wearing shorts, sneakers and a T-shirt–and Mrs. Dzuban-Øien, who did not even appear in court, would be represented by five attorneys from a large and expensive firm, indicating that Martha McSally’s campaign funded the lawsuit. The Plaintiffs have five days in which to appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court, which Mr. Wilenchik has also stated would be a waste of everybody’s time, including the taxpayers’.