A man suing the city of East Mountain filed an updated lawsuit this week in Upshur County after he says the city still has not complied with an open records request he filed in March 2015.
Andy Korn, the attorney representing Ken Miller in the lawsuit, provided the amended petition Tuesday to the News-Journal. In the case, Miller is suing East Mountain for not complying with a public information request for cellphone records of Police Chief/City Administrator Betty Davis.
The city pays a portion of Davis's cellphone bill, and Attorney General Ken Paxton previously ruled the city cannot withhold the records.
On Thursday, Visiting Judge Paul Banner signed an order denying a motion to dismiss the case. Banner is sitting in for Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler, who recused himself. The city's attorney had filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Miller's case is one of three lawsuits pending against the city; one of the other two pertains to open records, while the other pertains to Davis holding the positions of police chief and city administrator, which the lawsuit claims violates the Texas Constitution.
"You may expect a similar ruling denying the motion to dismiss on the other open records case," Banner wrote in a letter to Korn and the city's attorney, Lance Vincent.
In the amended petition filed this week, Korn wrote that on Jan. 12, the city produced documents that it said respond to Miller's public information request.
"The documents produced — essentially blank pieces of paper purporting to be the front pages of cellphone bills — are incomplete, unlawfully redacted and calculated to keep the public from being informed about Chief Betty Davis' activities," the amended lawsuit states.
In the amended petition, the attorney argues the city still is required to produce the complete cellphone bills for Davis.
Korn further said that on Dec. 6, Miller delivered a request to the city seeking records of emails for three East Mountain police officers, including Davis.
"The request included a quote from Betty Davis' sworn testimony about how her email was open to the public," the lawsuit states, noting an oral deposition Davis gave in September 2014.
The city failed to provide information, seek a clarification or seek an attorney general's opinion within the 10-day business deadline for responding to public information requests, the lawsuit states.
"Again, when asked for transparency in the operation of government, the city of East Mountain ignores its obligation to provide it," the lawsuit states.
A trial date is set March 13, though Banner has not said which of the three East Mountain lawsuits will be heard that day.