By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Two civil actions filed by attorneys for former Barbourville mayor David Thompson were heard in Knox County Circuit Court Friday.
Those civil actions are against all six members of Barbourville City Council — Mayor Darren West and council members Gary Williams, Wilma Barnes, Sherman Lawson, Ronnie Moore and Janet Hyde — and both actions concern their unanimous decision to vote Thompson out of the mayor’s seat in March.
Attorneys Scott Webster and Billy Taylor represented Thompson Friday — Thompson himself was not in the courtroom, nor were any of the city council members.
At one time, London attorney Joe Childers represented council members — however, it appears a change has been made. Representing city council was attorney Licha Farah. Attorney Ashley Brown, although not in court Friday, also represents the city and city council.
It is unknown why city council is now represented by a new attorney.
The first thing discussed in these actions was a motion to consolidate the cases as one, since both civil actions involve removing Thompson from office.
One action involved alleged violations of the state Open Meetings Act —- the other is an appeal of city’s council’s decision.
Judge Tom Jensen agreed to enter the order to consolidate the two cases.
Webster then wanted to set up a pretrial conference. He said the state statute has a “review” of the city council’s actions, “but it does not say how to do it.”
Webster added that he’d performed “a ridiculously thorough review” of cases in other courts similar to this one.
He said he did “think the court should allow discovery and undertake fact finding,” and that there were also alleged constitutional and civil rights claims.
Webster finished his point by saying he wanted a pretrial conference set “for a chance to discuss the scheduled order.”
However, Farah felt it was “premature,” especially knowing he only recently began representing city council. “We just (got involved in the case) at this point,” he said.
Farah added there was still discovery he needed from Thompson’s attorneys.
It was learned then that discovery will likely be delivered “next week,” and at that point both sets of attorneys “may be in a better position to start this process.”
No date for a new hearing was set.
Editor’s note: For more information on the civil actions filed by Thompson against the city and its council members, please refer to the Friday, March 21 edition of the Times-Tribune.