Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark-Amar's own mother, Janice Clark, was assigned as the judge over Amar's defamation lawsuit against a family whose elderly mother was a client at the Council on Aging.
Amar and her attorney both said they know that Amar's mother, 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark, will have to recuse herself from handling the randomly assigned case, although that hadn't happened as of late Friday afternoon.
East Baton Rouge Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark Amar has filed a defamation…
Court documents show the defamation lawsuit was assigned to Division D, which Clark presides over. The first petition for the lawsuit — stamped with "D" on it — was filed more than a week ago. Since then, every court filing in the case has reiterated its assignment to Division D.
The online case filing also lists "Honorable Janice Clark" as the judge.
"That's one of the easiest conflict of interest calls out there," said LSU Law Professor Ken Levy. "Even if it were randomly assigned to her, she needed to recuse herself right away. In the context of this case where there's already accusations of corruption, this adds much more fuel to the fire."
By late Friday, the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court's office said they had not received a notice of recusal or a motion to give the case to another judge. Spokesman Fred Sliman said all cases are first assigned through a random allotment.
Amar and her attorney said they expect Clark to recuse herself but don't know when that will happen. Amar said she has not spoken to her mother about a recusal.
"My family knows if any of us ever get her as a judge, the law says she has to recuse herself," Amar said.
Amar's attorney, Charlotte McDaniel McGehee, also said Clark won't be handling any hearings in the case.
"I don't want you to think there's a time we're going to appear before Judge Clark on a case," McGehee said.
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Tracie Davis, who Amar is suing for defamation, did not respond to a message Friday about the case. Davis said Thursday she could not comment on the defamation lawsuit.
Amar's lawsuit against Davis focuses on Helen Plummer, who died in early March at age 95 and was a frequent client of the Baton Rouge Council on Aging.
The Davis family publicly accused Amar of wrongdoing after they discovered their grandmother's will named Amar as trustee of her estate, for which she was to collect $120,000 over 20 years.
Amar asked a judge last month to let her step down from overseeing the estate after the Plummer family went public with their complaints against her. They said Amar "unduly influenced" Plummer into including Amar in the will.
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In her defamation lawsuit, Amar alleges that Davis and the rest of the Plummer family interfered with her career and that their statements about her caused mental anguish, emotional distress, medical and pharmaceutical expenses and more. Amar is seeking monetary damages in the defamation lawsuit.