Former state lawmaker Campbell challenges dismissal of public records case

Published 8:46 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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By J. Holly McCall

Tennessee Lookout

A former Tennessee state representative is challenging the dismissal of his open records case dealing with an investigation into his alleged workplace harassment.

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Scotty Campbell, a Johnson City Republican, resigned from the legislature in April 2023 amid accusations he harassed two legislative interns.

But in a lawsuit filed in February against Connie Ridley, director of Tennessee’s legislative staff, Campbell denied the harassment allegations and claimed he was forced to resign by House Republican leadership.

The case was dismissed in March by Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley on the grounds it was essentially the same as a separate public records suit filed by Brian Manookian, who also sought records in the harassment investigation.

Campbell’s lawyer argued Binkley violated his due process rights by failing to provide him with notice of the pending dismissal and that the records he wants should be available to him through the Tennessee Public Records Act.

State records law says any document involving personnel disputes may be turned over to anyone “directly involved in an investigation” as Campbell was at the time of the legislative investigation.

Campbell also said in his appeal that he is not acquainted with Manookian, and thus, the cases should be handled separately.

A hearing is set for June 21.

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