By Melissa Landry, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch
Earlier this week, the Baton Rouge Advocate published an article highlighting a lawsuit filed by Baker City Court Judge Kirk Williams against the Mayor of Baker Harold Rideau over a public records request involving an application for hurricane recovery grants. The dispute dates back to 2005.
Even after a close reading of the article, I think most people would agree, it’s impossible to figure out what either side is actually trying to accomplish in this ongoing debate, but one thing is certainly clear — the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayers’ time and money.
Meritless lawsuits clog up our court system, and public money that’s used to litigate them doesn’t go to other important expenditures. And in this case, there’s also a slew of public officials (two judges, a mayor, and city attorney) who’ve spent countless hours arguing in court over an issue that seems to have no point. Don’t they all have more important things they could be doing?
It’s hard to believe this dispute could not be settled in some other way, and it’s disappointing to see a simple disagreement within government go straight to the courts. This sets a bad example that could encourage others to file silly lawsuits, and some could argue it shows a basic disregard for how our tax dollars are spent — or wasted.
The bottom line — government needs to work this one out outside of the courtroom.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch is a non-partisan, non-profit, citizen watchdog group dedicated to stopping lawsuit abuse that hurts Louisiana families and threatens our jobs and health care. Learn more at www.LLAW.org, or follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/ReformLouisiana.