Monday, April 15, 2024

Bossier Parish Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against City and Councilman Alleging Failure to Respond to Public Records Request

by BIZ Magazine

A two-day trial culminated in the dismissal of a lawsuit against the City of Bossier City and Councilman at Large David Montgomery, after a Bossier Parish judge ruled in favor of the defendants, citing the lack of merit in the plaintiff’s claims.

The lawsuit, filed by Weston Merriott, a former Bossier City Police officer and editor of Sobo.live, alleged that the city and Councilman Montgomery had failed to respond to a request for public records. Merriott claimed that the city routinely neglected to fulfill public records requests, prompting him to take legal action.

However, during the trial, it was revealed that Bossier City had, in fact, responded to sixty-one separate requests by Merriott since August of the previous year, effectively refuting Merriott’s allegations of a pattern of non-responsiveness.

At the core of the dispute was a request for phone and email records submitted by Merriott in December. Despite evidence presented in court showing that the records had been provided to Merriott’s legal counsel at Tulane University a week before the lawsuit was filed, Merriott persisted in his legal action.

Judge Allie Aiello Stahl, upon reviewing the evidence and testimony, not only dismissed the lawsuit but also imposed a $500 sanction against Merriott for his insistence on pursuing the unfounded litigation.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Ray, who testified during the trial, expressed satisfaction with the court’s ruling, stating, “It is unfortunate that so much time had to be spent defending against this lawsuit, but when litigation is initiated against the city seeking monetary damages, we have no other option than to defend the city’s position.”

Ray further added, “We are pleased that the court recognized that the filing was completely without merit and went so far as to impose sanctions against the filer to discourage future frivolous filings.”

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