Commission ready to proceed immediately
LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has filed a request to depose former commission Chairman Sheffield Nelson. The Commission's outside counsel has asked Nelson to be available for a deposition anytime between Dec. 6-23.
Nelson filed suit against the Commission in September and amended his complaint for a third time in November. He claims the Commission has violated Arkansas law related to the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. The Commission denies the allegations.
"The Commission is ready to proceed immediately with the deposition of Sheffield Nelson," said Little Rock attorney Steve Quattlebaum. "If Mr. Nelson is sincere about his stated intent to uncover the facts in this case, he'll give a prompt response to our request and schedule the deposition quickly."
In court filings, the Commission has noted that Nelson has not established sufficient grounds to pursue a lawsuit against the agency. The filings demonstrate that Nelson has not established personal harm or injury in his complaint.
Based on lack of facts from Nelson, the Commission is asking Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge James M. Moody Jr. to dismiss the complaint.
"Mr. Nelson filed this lawsuit and made allegations in his complaint," Quattlebaum added. "It is now incumbent on him to offer testimony under oath about those allegations and come forward with proof rather than allegations. We look forward to hearing his response to our request to take his deposition. We are interested in hearing what evidence he has to support the allegations he has made in the lawsuit and in the press. If he believes he has credible evidence to support his claims, I would expect he would be eager to testify about it."
Nelson served on the commission from 2000-2007 and was chairman from 2006-2007. During his tenure, historical documents released by the Commission show that Nelson encouraged the commission's legal staff to prepare agency procedures that would replace the APA.
In public comments, Nelson has said he would not have supported and was not involved in any attempts to alter APA while he served on the commission.
Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow of Little Rock represents the Commission in the lawsuit.