Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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City Council Seeks Return of Internal Emails

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - The New Orleans City Council never gave CDs containing internal emails to a director for the Louisiana Justice Institute, but she received them anyway and now refuses to give them back, the council claims in Orleans Parish Court.

Tracie Washington, the managing director for the institute, submitted a public records request in December 2008, seeking all emails from council members Jackie Clarkson, Arnie Fielkow, Stacy Head and Shelly Midura, from July 1, 2006 to present.

The city council claims it didn't receive the request until Feb. 19, 2009. It then responded that the material was probably privileged, and the city attorney would need to review the documents before they could be produced.

But the plaintiff says Washington had already received CDs of the emails she requested, which she received from the head of the city's Department of Sanitation, who got them from the Mayor's Office of Technology.

The council asked for them back, but Washington allegedly refused to return the original CDs or copies, and even declined to tell the council what emails she possessed.

"Without question, some of the documents produced to Ms. Washington in response to the Institute records request are privileged, personal and/or otherwise protected under Public Records Act," the lawsuit claims.

Some of the emails allegedly contain confidential attorney-client information, according to the council.

The plaintiff seeks an injunction prohibiting Washington from "transmitting, disseminating, discussing or copying" any of the documents she received.

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