Louisiana officials sue Union County Circuit Clerk for $20,000

Louisiana officials have sued the Union County circuit clerk, claiming they were overcharged by more than $20,000 for photocopies of court documents, reports the AP.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month by the state and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. The El Dorado News-Times reported Friday (http://www.eldoradonews.com) that Union County Circuit Clerk Cheryl Cochran-Wilson charged Louisiana $2.50 per page after preparing more than 9,300 pages in a court case.

Louisiana was charged $25,720.25, which was paid on Sept. 28, 2009, according to the suit. The documents were part of an appeal Louisiana was filing over a decision made by the Arkansas Pollution Control and Economic Commission. 

A 2011 Arkansas Supreme Court opinion dealing with a case in Hempstead County said only new documents dealing with an appeal should be charged at the $2.50 rate and other documents should be 25 cents per page.

“It’s an honest difference in opinion,” said attorney Richard Mays, who’s representing Louisiana in the suit. “We’re not saying the clerk did anything that was deliberately wrong. We think we were overcharged and we would like to be refunded.”

Wilson referred questions to the county’s legal counsel, who said Hot Springs attorney Burt Newell would represent the county in the suit.

Newell said the differences between the Hempstead County and Union County cases would be key in combating the suit.

“I think that what (Wilson) did for the state of Louisiana was far more in detail than what the clerk did in Hempstead County and that’s why she assessed the different charge per page than did the clerk in Hempstead County,” he said. “That’s a critical difference.”


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