Wilkinson County Superior Court judge considering motions in Whipple-Lue lawsuit
Originally filed in March 2014, the lawsuit claims Mayor Whipple-Lue violated the open meetings act and is incompetent in office. It asks to have her removed from the position. In the summer, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the mayor could keep her position because the complaint needs to be against the person holding the position, not the position itself. The attorney for the Concerned Citizens of Gordon, Devlin Cooper, wants to amend the lawsuit to make sure it’s clear the group is suing Mayor Whipple-Lue.
“All we want to do is go back and add the mayor and her individual capacity because she’s got to be in the suit, individually, to be removed from office,” explained Cooper.
It’s an amendment motion Mayor Whipple-Lue’s attorney, Wayne Kendall, doesn’t want to pass.
“Any amendment to the complaint should have been done long ago,” said Kendall.
Kendall filed two new motions to dismiss. Previous ones were dismissed before the Georgia Supreme Court heard the lawsuit.
“We filed them because the Supreme Court ruled in our favor on most of the issues that were important to us back in June of this year and I wanted to reiterate the reasons that the Supreme Court’s decision should be upheld by the trial court to dismiss,” explained Kendall, referring to his two new motions.
Cooper said the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t mean the lawsuit is automatically thrown out.
“We’re suing her for over $100,000 in fines and penalties too. That’s very much alive. The only thing that’s out is the way the caption of this case reads. She can’t be removed out of office without being added in her individual capacity,” argued Cooper.
Cooper maintains it was his intention all along to sue Mayor Whipple-Lue in her individual capacity.
“It actually lists Mary Ann Whipple-Lue, as Mayor of the City of Gordon. We’ve said since day one that we were suing her individually. Judge Reeves understood that in May of 2014. We understood that. Somehow the Supreme Court, kind of muddied the waters,” said Cooper.
Kendall argues it’s too late for the Concerned Citizens of Gordon to change their lawsuit.
“He did not file for a reconsideration at the time the Georgia Supreme Court issued their ruling and after they’ve issued their decision in a case involving the merits as this case was, then it’s too late to come back and amend the complaint,” said Kendall.
Cooper plans to file another lawsuit if his motion doesn’t pass. Kendall said he doesn’t think another lawsuit would be valid either, but would be prepared to deal with it. Cooper believes there will be a ruling on these motions sometime in the next few days.