Documents filed in Superior Court shed some light into Grady EMC lawsuit
A flurry of documents has been filed in the Grady County Clerk of Superior Court’s office over the last week regarding a lawsuit against Grady Electric Membership Corporation and its management but, as of late Tuesday, Judge Loring Gray had not ruled on any of the motions filed.
Grady EMC attorneys filed an emergency motion to stay discovery on May 28 in an attempt to keep information sought by the plaintiffs in the case confidential.
Plaintiffs Gordon Clyatt, Ronald Sellars, C. Seaborn Roddenbery, Jerome J. Ellis and Roy Brock, through their attorneys George T. Talley and Edward F. Preston, are seeking information from both Grady EMC and United National Bank concerning Grady EMC’s purchase and subsequent sale of UNB stock to Thomas A. Rosser Sr., work performed by Grady EMC mechanics on personal vehicles belonging to Rosser Sr., the $3.8 million renovation of the EMC headquarters, the purchase of a large tract of land on GA Hwy. 112, and more.
Some of the court documents filed last week shed light on the information being sought by the plaintiffs from United National Bank, which is not a party to the suit.
Greg Michell, attorney for Thomas A. Rosser Sr., last week filed an objection to the production of documents from United National Bank.
In his court filing, Michell highlighted six sets of documents being requested of the bank by the plaintiffs.
According to the documents filed in Grady Superior Court, the plaintiffs are requesting the bank turn over:
1. True and accurate and complete copies of all documents which pertain to the purchase or acquisition of United National Bank stock by the Grady Electric Membership Corporation.
2. True, accurate and complete copies of all documents which pertain to the subsequent sale or transfer of said United National Bank stock by the Grady Electric Membership Corporation to Tommy A. Rosser Sr., and/or any other person or entity.
3. True, accurate and complete copies of all documents which pertain to any compensation, gifts, perks, fringe benefits, insurance coverage, complimentary services, and/or other benefits paid to or received by Tommy A. Rosser Sr., while a director of United National Bank.
4. A true, accurate and complete copy of the charter of United National Bank.
5.A true, accurate and complete copy of the minutes of the Board of Directors of United National Bank for the years 2000 and 2004.
6. True, accurate and complete copies of all documents which contain information as to the role Tommy A. Rosser Sr., played in the formation or founding of the United National Bank.
Michell claims, on Rosser’s behalf, “the documents are drafted in a impermissibly broad manner that demonstrates Plaintiff’s intent not to seek documents relevant to their claims, but rather an attempt to conduct a fishing expedition into Defendant Rosser’s affairs. Defendant Rosser objects to UNB producing the requested records unless and until Plaintiffs show good cause and the Court enters an Order compelling their production.
Michell also argues that the release of the requested information could potentially include Defendant Rosser’s private financial information and that his compensation from UNB is “wholly irrelevant to this matter.”
Court documents filed last Thursday, June 4, show that United National Bank has retained Kimberly Guthrie of Gardner, Willis, Sweat & Handelman, LLP, of Albany to represent the bank.
According to Ms. Gutherie’s filing, she has presented a copy of the bank’s responses and objections to the plaintiff’s request for production of documents to a nonparty. The bank’s response is not a public record and is not included in the documents filed in the clerk’s office.
Also filed last week was the plaintiff’s response to the defendant’s emergency motion for a stay of discovery.
Plaintiff’s attorneys Talley and Preston argue that the plaintiffs have the burden of proof and note, “any stay will be prejudicial to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs should be allowed to conduct discovery before memories fade and documents become lost or destroyed.”
Talley and Preston also argued, “Although Grady EMC claims that it has acted appropriately and has nothing to hide, it has done everything in its power to prevent Plaintiffs from inspecting its records, including, filing the present motion. Actions speak louder than words, and apparently, Defendants have something to hide.”
The plaintiffs’ attorneys also stated, “Since Defendants’ alleged ’emergency’ is the result of their own inaction and an improper attempt to prevent Plaintiffs from conducting discovery pursuant to the Civil Practice Act, Defendants’ motion should be denied.”
The plaintiffs are suing the EMC over the way it retains capital credits, then only disburses them to deceased members, and for business decisions made including using EMC funds to purchase stock in United National Bank and then selling the stock to Thomas A. Rosser Sr., while financing the purchase with a loan from the co-op, among other things.
In addition to Rosser Sr., and the EMC, the defendants include EMC board of directors members Dewey Brock Jr., Caylor Outzs, Lamar Carlton, James Freeman, Lamar Strickland, Robert E. Lee, James Lewis, and current EMC General Manager Thomas A. (Bo) Rosser Jr.
Rosser Sr. is being represented in this matter by Greg Michell of Stanley, Esrey & Buckley of Atlanta. Other attorneys for the defendants include Hugh B. McNatt of Vidalia; T. Joshua, R. Archer, M. Anne Kaufold-Wiggins, and Matthew B. Ames of Balch & Bingham of Atlanta; M. Clair Chason of the Chason Law Firm in Cairo; V. Gail Lane of Altman & Lane in Thomasville; and Thomas Conger of Bainbridge.
Between July 23, 2014, and Aug. 27, 2014, the plaintiffs placed six advertisements in The Messenger raising their concerns with the operation and management of Grady EMC. The plaintiffs filed suit on Oct. 7, 2014.
The defendants then requested a 60-day extension to file an answer to the original complaint, which the plaintiffs agreed to.
The plaintiffs later granted the defendants an additional extension when they amended their complaint on Dec. 23, 2014. The defendants filed their answer on Jan. 26, 2015, and filed a motion to dismiss. By doing so, they automatically obtained a 90-day stay of discovery.
According to court documents, the defendants took no action to schedule a hearing on their motion during the 90-day stay period and the stay automatically expired after 90 days.