JEFFERSON — Charlotte-based television station WBTV’s public records lawsuit against Ashe County appeared for a second time in Ashe County civil court Monday, Feb. 4, according to court documents.
Trial Court Coordinator Patsy Johnson in Wilkesboro said Judge Edwin G. Wilson heard from WBTV Attorney Michael J. Tadych and Ashe County’s representative, Ryan D. Bolick, concerning a motion to compel, or make a ruling on the case.
Judge Wilson took the case under advisement, which means he is deliberating about a ruling before announcing his decision, according to Ashe County Assistant Clerk Joan Hall as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.
WBTV brought forth its case against Ashe County on Nov. 6, 2017, after records the station requested between April and July 2017 were not provided by the relevant Ashe County authorities, the case history said, as previously reported by Ashe Post & Times.
In the initial lawsuit, WBTV sought a court ruling that text messages it requested between the Ashe County Board of Commissioners and defendant Terry Buchanan, who was then the sheriff of Ashe County, were public record, Ashe Post & Times previously reported.
The first time the case went to trial, former Sheriff Terry Buchanan and then-Sheriff Richard Clayton moved for court judgement, and the trial court held a hearing that ruled in favor of the sheriff’s office on Dec. 4, 2017, according to court documents and previously reported by Ashe Post & Times.
WBTV took the initial court decision regarding the sheriff’s office involvement to the N.C. Court of Appeals, but the appeal was dismissed, cementing the removal of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office from the civil case heard Monday, Ashe Post & Times previously reported.
Monday’s proceedings were the second time the WBTV case was heard in civil court since it was first filed, according to court documents. Listed as defendants for Ashe County are commissioners William Sands, Paula Perry and Larry Rhodes; former commissioners Jeff Rose and Gary Roark; former county manager Sam Yearick and county attorney John Kilby, along with Kilby & Hurley, his law office.
Ashe Post & Times will update this story as more information becomes available.