COVINGTON — An unusual lawsuit filed by a principal in the Newton County School System served as a focus for many readers for about half of 2012.
Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter, whose husband is NCSS Deputy Superintendent for Operations Dennis Carpenter, filed a suit in Newton County in April naming 11 “John Does” who commented about Carpenter on the Newton Citizen website. The lawsuit claimed that Carpenter had “experienced enormous suffering and damage to her reputation in the community and to her trade or profession” as a result of the website postings.
Carpenter, through Newton County attorney Stephanie Lindsey, was seeking court costs and monetary damages to be determined by a jury.
Three of the defendants were dismissed from the suit in late April, and in June, the complaint was amended to add Newton County Board of Education Vice Chair Jeff Meadors to the list of defendants. Carpenter claimed that Meadors was slanderous and malicious in making false statements about her profession to expose her to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.
She alleged that Meadors made comments on the Newton Citizen website under pseudonyms or gave information obtained through his capacity as a board member to others who made the comments. He denied the allegations.
Also in June, Newton County Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton granted the Newton Citizen’s motion to quash a subpoena seeking information from the newspaper that would identify the anonymous posters named in the lawsuit.
The subpoena requested from the Citizen all information and documents sufficient to identify the names, addresses and telephone numbers associated with those named in the lawsuit, as well as documents reproducing the texts of the comments from Jan. 1, 2011, to present and all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms related to those named.
In August, all of the remaining eight “John Does” were dropped from the lawsuit, leaving Meadors as the only defendant.
In October, after several depositions, Carpenter withdrew the lawsuit, which she said was an effort to end divisiveness in the community.
Dennis Carpenter recently was named superintendent of a school district in near Kansas City, Mo.