Article Comment 

Voice of the people: Jeffrey J. Turnage




Disappointed with inaccuracies 


I was quite disappointed with the inaccuracies in Jeff Clark's article Sunday, which reported on a lawsuit against Mayor Robert Smith, Brandy Gardner and Kennetra Floyd filed by a Monique Montgomery in an attempt to force the Mayor's Youth Council (MYC) to take her daughter on a trip to Hattiesburg.  


The article indicated the judge ruled in favor of the parent in her lawsuit. However, the fact of the matter is the judge denied all of the relief requested in the lawsuit. Specifically, what follows is what the mother, Monique Montgomery, sued for and the results thereof:  


First, the mother asked for a preliminary injunction to force the MYC to take her daughter to a Leadership Summit in Hattiesburg.  


The request was denied.  


Second, the mother asked for an injunction to prevent the MYC from refusing to take her daughter on the trip with them to the Youth Summit in Hattiesburg.  


The request was likewise denied.  


Third, the mother sought a restraining order to prevent the MYC from attending the conference until all the rules of the MYC had been delivered to the members of the Council and signed by them and their parents.  


That request was also denied.  


Fourth, the mother asked for an order permanently enjoining the MYC from attending the leadership summit without her daughter.  


That request was again denied.  


Fifth, the mother asked to receive costs and expenses incurred in the action.  


That request was denied.  


Finally, Ms. Montgomery asked for such other and further relief as the court deems proper. It is only in this last regard that the court "admonished" the MYC to do anything. In other words, the MYC was only admonished to deliver rules to the members of the Youth Council and get them signed by the members and their parents. The court ruled against Mrs. Montgomery in every other respect.  


From where I sat in the courtroom, between Mayor Smith and Brandy Gardner, the Court did not "slap" the MYC "on the wrist" as was reported. In fact, Judge Zebert said that there did not appear to be any malicious conduct on either side of this suit.  


In conclusion, the article said that the trial judge was a Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. This was also inaccurate. The Supreme Court merely assigned a judge to hear the case. I would not even bother to point this issue out, except for the fact that the article indicated that the judge found for the plaintiff. It would lead a casual reader to believe that the Supreme Court had ruled against the Youth Council. In fact, the result of the trial was a resounding defeat of all of the claims of the plaintiff and a clear victory for Mayor Smith and Brandy Gardner.  


Jeffrey J. Turnage 


The writer is the attorney for the City of Columbus. 




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