Taxpayers on the hook after EBR school system ignores court order to pay $200k judgment

5 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, April 20 2023 Apr 20, 2023 April 20, 2023 4:01 PM April 20, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Serious questions are being raised by the lawyer representing a woman who was awarded a $200,000 payout by a Baton Rouge judge two years ago.

Despite that ruling in 2021, the woman has not seen a dime from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. Now, taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars with interest compounded on top of that because the school system has not paid up.

"Goodness sakes, what are you doing?" Attorney Bill Mitchell said. "What possible justification could you have for not properly funding the judgment. You are supposed to have an account to do that, and I don't know if they've complied with that law."

Mitchell is representing Charlene Pinkney. Pinkney was driving on North Sherwood Forest near Tams Drive in 2015 when a school system employee who was on the clock changed lanes, causing her to crash. The crash report indicates the school system employee was at fault. The case went to trial and Judge Richard "Chip" Moore awarded Pinkney $196,022 and $11,837 for the expert witnesses who had to testify.

Fast forward to April 2023, the school system has not paid the bill. Now, the amount has ballooned to $268,633.

Court documents state "The School Board has not paid Pinkney any amount whatsoever."

Pinkney questions why this is happening.

"It wasn't my fault," Pinkney said. "The accident happened, it was their driver's negligence. Just throw her to the side never answer the phone. Even after we sued them they still won't pay."

WBRZ reached out to the East Baton Rouge Parish School System about this case. A spokesman issued the following statement:

"EBRPSS does not comment on pending litigation or the status of negotiations regarding judgments that are still pending."

Pinkney said her medical bills have exceeded $78,000 from the crash. She doesn't understand why a public entity is not being compliant with a court order.

"A lot of the treatment she underwent was under a letter of guarantee basis," Mitchell said. "Simply where the healthcare provider is assured when the case is done, their bill will be paid."

Pinkney wonders what's happening at the school system and why a public entity is refusing to pay.

"I don't have any confidence in the system anymore," Pinkney said. "This is just ridiculous."

A court hearing is scheduled for next week for Judge Moore to revisit this issue.

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