On Thursday, February 1, 2024, North State Journal reported that a legal dispute between Moore County Clerk of Court Todd Maness and Moore County District Court Judge Beth Tanner had been resolved.
The controversy began in early December 2023, when Judge Tanner issued a show cause order against Clerk Maness, directing him to appear before the court to address concerns about administrative issues in the Carthage courthouse. Judge Tanner’s order accused Clerk Maness of contempt of court for failing to obey orders, and outlined six issues such as allegations that Maness had revoked access to files and not properly accommodated the scheduling of special hearings.
In response to Judge Tanner’s order, Clerk Maness denied any wrongdoing and said he believed the charges would be dismissed. Maness’s attorney Michael Porter then filed a civil conspiracy lawsuit against both Judge Tanner and recently retired Judge James Webb. The lawsuit alleged an illicit relationship between Judge Webb and Todd Maness’s predecessor Susan Hicks, and aimed to show that Webb had acted to undermine Maness’s position. It also claimed that comments Judge Webb made to the media about Maness’s job performance amounted to defamation.
Judge Tanner’s attorney Daniel Gibson said that as a judge, Tanner was immune from the claims and acting within her authority to address issues in the courthouse. However, Judge Webb’s attorney Tom Van Camp provided interviews confirming Webb’s comments about problems in the clerk’s office were truthful and not intended to remove Maness.
Michael Porter confirmed to WIBC that Clerk Maness was now satisfied with the resolution of his matters. The portion of the lawsuit involving Judge Webb had been dismissed with prejudice, precluding future claims. Mr. Porter stated Maness hoped all parties could now move forward in handling the business of Moore County. While the terms of the resolution are confidential, both sides appear ready to put the dispute behind them. Judge Tanner’s attorney also maintained confidence in their legal standing in the unresolved portions of the case.
Source: North State Journal