WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Washington County has paid current Justice of the Peace Beth Coger after one judge found the county violated the Freedom of Information Act.
In November 2022, Coger represented herself in court as she brought this FOIA lawsuit against the county.
She said the county did not properly inform the public when the Jobs Evaluation/Salary Administration Program Committee, also known as JESAP, planned to meet. She also claimed the county did not return documents she requested in a timely manner.
In January 2023, Judge Randy Wright ruled in Coger’s favor.
On November 6, 2023, Coger announced she has received the money Judge Wright ordered the county to pay. The check total was for $2,367.02.
The first judgement awarded to her was $1,042.02 from when she represented herself.
When Coger said the county still hadn’t paid her after several months, she hired a lawyer to help her collect the fees. She said the county filed a motion for clarification, which was actually a motion for a new trial.
Coger said she wasn’t up to fighting that herself so she continued to use the attorney.
She said the county’s appeal time had passed but a second trial was held that was several hours long. The judge ruled in Coger’s favor again and ordered the county to pay for those attorney fees as well. This brought the total to $2,367.02.
Coger filed another lawsuit against the county over a subcommittee meeting of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee that happened on February of this year.
The judge ruled in Coger’s favor in this case as well, but the county is currently appealing that decision.