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Judge awards civil penalties in Georgia Sunshine Act lawsuit brought by Ramsingh Legal

MACON, Georgia: Yesterday, a judge in Turner County Superior Court awarded civil penalties against five city councilmembers, a mayor, and a city manager for violations of Georgia's Open Meetings Act. These penalties are awarded against the individuals in their personal capacities, as opposed to the City.

Joy Ramsingh represented Mr. Ben Baker, the editor of the Wiregrass Farmer, a small local newspaper that brought the suit. Ms. Ramsingh asked for the maximum civil penalty, which was $1,000.00 per person. The defendants argued that no civil penalty should be awarded. After hearing testimony from eight witnesses and receiving evidence on the issue, the court awarded civil penalties in the amount of $850 per person, representing one month's salary for service on the city council.

Prior to that, the City had already reimbursed the Plaintiff for his incurred attorney's fees and costs.

In her opinion, Judge Melanie B. Cross stated: "The Court cannot help but feel that if Mr. Baker had not filed this action, there would have been absolutely no changes to the way in which the city council would have acted in the future."

A copy of the opinion is here:

Download PDF • 408KB

If you are in need of Sunshine Act guidance, please feel free to reach out to us at

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