Judge slaps city with $141,600 bill in ruling for clerk of court

Judge slaps city with $141,600 bill in ruling for clerk of court

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A judge ruled Thursday in favor of Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell in his bid to have his office fully funded.

Civil District Court Judge Sidney Cates says the city failed to fulfill its legal obligation to fund the office in 2012, and he ruled against the city in the amount of $141,600.50.

Cates heard testimony from Clerk's Office employees on one side and City CAO Andy Kopplin and Assistant CAO for Operations and Budget Cary Grant on the other.

In his judgment, Cates said Morrell had the right to appoint deputy clerks – with the approval of Criminal Court judges – as necessary to do business, and that the city was obligated to pay expenses and salaries.

The battle over 2012 funding started in October of that year, when Morrell filed suit accusing Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration of withholding 3.8 percent of Morrell's $3.7 million budget.

The cuts to the office were among the cuts ordered to almost all city departments by the Landrieu administration and Kopplin to keep the city's 2012 budget in balance.

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