Covering Louisiana

Jan 14, 2014 9:18 AM by AP

Judge won't dismiss ex-ATC commissioner's lawsuit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state district judge has refused to throw out former Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter's claim that the state Office of Inspector General defamed him in a scathing 2011 report.

The Advocate reports Judge Janice Clark on Monday refused to dismiss the lawsuit. Two years ago, Clark also rejected the state's request to dismiss Painter's wrongful-termination claim but the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reversed her last year and tossed that claim.

Preston Castille Jr., an attorney for the Office of Inspector General and Inspector General Stephen Street, said outside Clark's courtroom that he'll ask the same appellate court to overturn the judge's latest ruling in the case.

Castille said Painter's defamation claim "is completely without merit."

Painter served 14 years as ATC commissioner.

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