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Nelson seeks to avoid deposition in lawsuit

Commission ready to proceed immediately

LITTLE ROCK - In response to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s request to depose former commission Chairman Sheffield Nelson, Nelson has filed a Motion for Protective Order seeking to vastly limit the questions that could be asked of him in a deposition.  The Commission’s outside counsel had asked Nelson to be available for a deposition anytime between Dec. 6-23. 

On Dec, 4, 2010, Nelson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he was “absolutely willing to be deposed in this situation.”  On Dec. 9, 2010, Nelson stated in a letter to Arkansas legislators that he has “volunteered to be deposed in this case …, providing their questions are relative to the case[.]”  On Dec. 10, 2010, he filed a Motion for Protective Order seeking to limit any questions to only the allegations made in the first paragraph in his complaint and the fact that, through counsel, he has requested information pursuant to Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.   

It is dubious for Mr. Nelson to claim, on the one hand, that the FOIA should apply to the Commission in all circumstances and yet, on the other hand, oppose an effort to get at the whole truth regarding his allegations and his actions as a commissioner in the lawsuit he filed.  Mr. Nelson has made numerous comments to media outlets and written several letters to Arkansas legislators and the Attorney General regarding his allegations.  However, when given the opportunity to make statements under oath, he has asked the Court to prevent the Commission from asking him what evidence he has to support the allegations.

As stated by Little Rock attorney Steve Quattlebaum prior to Nelson’s Motion for Protective Order, "Mr. Nelson filed this lawsuit and made allegations in his complaint.  It is now incumbent on him to offer testimony under oath about those allegations and come forward with proof rather than allegations.  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."

Contrary to his requests in the Motion for Protective Order, Mr. Nelson has seen no reason to limit his own comments to the press and the Arkansas Legislature regarding the allegations in his complaint.  Now is the time for him to come forward with proof if he has it to support his comments to the press. 

Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow of Little Rock represents the Commission in the lawsuit.