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Fort Smith officials advised to reject lawsuit settlement

Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen filed two FOIA lawsuits on behalf of a resident. (Photo: KATV)

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) -- City leaders in northwest Arkansas have been advised to reject a settlement in a lawsuit that accuses them of violating the Freedom of Information Act by discussing city business in emails.

Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen filed two FOIA lawsuits on behalf of a resident. One is against the city, and the other is against City Directors Keith Lau, Andre Good and Mike Lorenz.

McCutchen's settlement offer requires the city directors to admit that the emails violated the act by holding informal meetings.

But the city's attorney, Jerry Canfield, recommended at the board's study session Tuesday that the city directors reject the offer. He said there isn't a definition of "meeting" in the act.

The board will vote whether to accept or reject the offer at the next regular meeting on Sept. 19.

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