COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously denied a request for an appeal by the city of Columbus in two separate cases involving elected officials.
This clears the way for plaintiffs Linda Pierce, Muscogee County Superior Court Clerk and Sheriff John Darr's cases to move to trial court.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson released the following statement:
"While we are disappointed the Supreme Court will not hear the significant legal issues presented by these matters at the outset, we look forward to exposing the weaknesses of these claims in the trial court and prevailing there. We had hoped the Supreme Court would resolve these faulty pleading matters early, thereby limiting further taxpayer expense. Importantly, the initial dismissals of claims remain, and now the City will move forward to resolve the few claims left in each case."
Since the lawsuits were filed last November, claiming their offices received inadequate budgets for the 2015 fiscal year, the lower court has dismissed certain injunctive claims. Other claims were also voluntarily dismissed by two additional plaintiffs, Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman and Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton-Bishop. Both of them are suing for the same budgetary reasons as Pierce and Darr
Recently, Judge Fuller, an Atlanta judge overseeing the cases, ruled the defendants were protected under sovereign immunity under the officials capacities, but not in their individual capacities.
Darr responded to Tuesday's decision by saying, "The mayor just finished wasting a bunch of taxpayers' money on appealing our cases. She's been trying to try this case in the media. She's been telling people this suit would not go forward, but this is a 100 percent slam dunk."