Judge orders the Echols County Board of Education and its superintendent to hand-over their personal cell phones to an  E-discovery company.

The on-going case involves the non-renewal of Echols County member, Dr. Lana Foster. Dr. Foster and her family are one of the few African American families born and raised in Echols County. Passion for public education runs deep in the Foster family. Both her parents worked for the school system, as well as Dr. Foster’s daughter. All have suffered decades of vile racism and discrimination. Years earlier, Dr. Foster settled a race discrimination case against the school board, many of whom still remain on the Echols County school board to this day. In preparation for Dr. Foster’s nonrenewal hearing, GAE’s network attorney sent the school district an Open Records Act (ORA) request seeking documents related to the nonrenewal including all text messages and emails exchanged by the superintendent, the school board, and other school officials. These requests also included text messages and emails from personal/private accounts surrounding Dr. Foster’s nonrenewal, previous lawsuits or charges of race discrimination. When the school district did not respond to the ORA request, GAE filed suit in Echols County to compel disclosure of the records. After hearing the evidence, the Court ordered the cell phones to be turned over to a third-party forensic expert. The Order provides in part, “The E-discovery company should extract and produce all information contained on them about Plaintiff Dr. Lana Foster or her termination, as well as any electronic messages that speak derogatorily about race or African Americans, or use racially derogatory terms or slurs. Additionally, the E-discovery company should produce analytic information showing what electronic messages were deleted from the phone subsequent to the Open Records Act request and spoliation notice” were submitted to the school district on June 28, 2018. The school district appealed the Order but it was denied by the Georgia Court of Appeals. Therefore, the Order remains in full force and effect.
Click here to read Superior Court Order | Court of Appeals Order