Judge issues order on Vienna man’s lawsuit with city

VIENNA — Vienna resident Lawrence Wilson has sued the city of Vienna three different times over responding fully with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Each time the city has been dismissed on those previous allegations.

“Wilson claimed that the city of Vienna failed to comply with his two requests for information which he submitted on August 2, 2017, seeking information in connection with the city’s health insurance policies for its employees including the bidding process, the award of contracts, the costs and other details of such insurance policies,” as stated in the court order from Judge J.D. Beane’s court in the Wood County Circuit Court.

This created the fourth time Wilson has sued the City of Vienna, Vienna city attorney Russell Skogstad said at Thursday’s Vienna City Council meeting.

After Wilson’s original allegation on Sept. 22, 2017, the court investigated the matter, finding that the city of Vienna had responded to Wilson’s FOIA request by e-mail, CD and written documents.

The city of Vienna was found to have responded on Aug. 10, 2017, with 125 documents to be reviewed, but informed Wilson that there could include more than one thousand papers

“Wilson claimed he did not wish to review the documents on a computer provided by the city,” the order said.

The city was also found to have provided Wilson records by e-mail on Aug. 25 and 30, 2017.

According to the order, Wilson refused to open expressing concerns for attacks on his e-mail account.

The order said the city was found to have provided Wilson with a CD on Sept. 11, 2017, which he agreed to accept, “If the City would run the CD through IT’s Security Software,” with him present.

Wilson later revoked his acceptance because, “Once my head cleared, I realized I was making a deal with the devil,” the order said.

It was found that on Sept. 14, 2017, the city provided Wilson with an excess of 500 pages of documentation pertaining to his FOIA request, which according to the order, Wilson claimed was incomplete.

During the case, Wilson filed a pro se motion seeking to disqualify Beane as presiding judge and assignment of a judge from outside Wood County to hear the civil action be made.

The West Virginia Supreme Court denied the motion.

The case continued with much debate until March 5, 2019, when Beane ruled in Vienna’s favor on all matters other than to award attorney fees, which ended up costing the city $10,483.86, according to Skogstad, who was unable to represent the city due to being included in the listed city members being personally sued by Wilson.