July 27, 2012 — Carter County citizen Renee Stewart and County Attorney Patrick Flannery filed a joint lawsuit Friday against Carter Fiscal Court, claiming that the Court violated Kentucky Open Meeting laws during its May 29 special meeting.
During that meeting, the Fiscal Court narrowly approved the first reading of two ordinances to establish a regional jail authority with Boyd County.
The suit asks the Circuit Court to affirm that the Fiscal Court is a public agency, and thus beholden to KRS 61.820 and KRS 61.840 – the statutes that govern open meeting laws.
The lawsuit alleges that Fiscal Court willfully violated these statues when it refused to move the May 29 special meeting to a larger location, even after Flannery informed that court that doing so was necessary under the law.
The overflow crowd at the meeting was so large that one of the benches in the rear of the courtroom collapsed under the weight of spectators trying to jostle their way into earshot of the proceedings.
Flannery and Stewart are seeking a temporary injunction against all actions taken at the May 29 meeting until the case can be heard by the Circuit Court.
A ruling against the Fiscal Court would mean that those actions, including the first reading of the jail ordinances, would be void.
The plaintiffs are also seeking court costs, attorney's fees, and all statutory damages that KRS 61.882 will allow.
(EDITOR’S NOTE -- A lawsuit generally states only one side of a dispute between two or more parties.)
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.