CINCINNATI -- The law firm representing a conservative watchdog in the "gang of five" text messaging lawsuit said it filed a motion Monday seeking to have five City Council members be held in contempt.
Judge Robert Ruehlman set a Nov. 2 deadline in an order last month for the city to release all text messages and emails exchanged between council members P.G. Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, Tamaya Dennard, Chris Seelbach and Wendell Young since the start of the year.
Finney Law Firm, which is representing Mark Miller in a lawsuit against the city and council members, said in a news release that it filed the motion because deadline passed and all of the messages had not yet been released.
The city has already released about 80 pages of text messages exchanged between the council members between Jan. 19 and March 24.
Last week, City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething filed to appeal Ruehlman's order, saying it's "necessary to protect communications that are privileged or confidential between elected officials and their attorneys."
The city is asking an appeals court to hold Ruehlman's order until after their appeal can be decided, writing that there would be no "meaningful or effective remedy if required to produce those documents now."
City officials hadn't yet filed a response to the new motion.
"This office has a duty to defend the interests of the city, making it necessary to protect communications that are privileged or confidential between elected officials and their attorneys. Such communications are outside the bounds of permissible discovery. To that end, we appealed Judge Ruehlman’s order of October 23, 2018 which required the production of all emails and texts from January 1, 2018 to present, including communications that are privileged and confidential," Muething said. "The city’s appeal divested the trial court of jurisdiction over this matter, leaving the trial court without authority to consider the plaintiff’s motion. We expect this issue will be dispensed expeditiously.