UPDATE: Mary Roper filed a motion to appeal Judge Michael Caldwell’s September ruling today. One of her attorneys said she is not seeking reinstatement or damages. She just wants the circuit court to clarify that the office of the Parish Attorney is a not an at-will position.
Former East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney Mary Roper was fired in September, and she left guns blazing — publicly criticizing the motivations and actions of the Metro Council members who voted to remove her.
While she’s already lost one lawsuit that she filed against the Metro Council, it’s possible she might have some more tricks up her sleeve.
Attorney Murphy Foster III, who defended the Metro Council against Roper’s suit, said this week that while that lawsuit is over — and no appeal was filed — he is still being retained by the council to deal with the onerous public record requests being submitted by Roper.
A few days after Roper was officially fired, she sent a public record request directly to Information Services Director Eric Romero, asking for a copy of every email she sent or received from when she was hired in Oct. 1993 until the present.
The request generated “roughly 90,000 documents which must first be reviewed for privileged and nonpublic information,” Foster said.
He said he’s currently at an impasse with Roper, because he asked her to agree to pay for the cost of reviewing those documents, which will be extremely time consuming and labor intensive.
Roper, Foster said, contends she should not have to pay for the labor.
Foster said he has also asked Roper to narrow her search.
“Our office and Ms. Roper are in discussions about the next step,” he said.
The Metro Council will be asked to extend Foster’s contract compensation ceiling to $50,000 from $32,500, since he continues to rack up charges associated with Roper’s requests.
Foster said he wouldn’t rule out another lawsuit being filed by Roper.
Roper’s initial lawsuit claimed she was being denied due process by the council in their proceedings to remove her. She also claimed in the suit, that she was not an at-will employee and the council couldn’t remove her without cause. A 19th district court judge ultimately ruled against her and the council subsequently fired her. A faction of the council said they’d lost confidence in her ability to manage and lead the parish attorney’s office, and questioned her judgment related to filing a suit against the council.