BATON ROUGE — A Louisiana judge has recused herself from a defamation of character lawsuit that her daughter filed.
Judge Janice Clark, the mother of Tasha Clark-Amar, director of the Council on Aging, was randomly assigned to hear the lawsuit. Approximately four weeks after being assigned the case, Clark officially removed herself from hearing the case.
Clark-Amar filed the suit in April in the state 19th Judicial District court against the family of a now deceased Council on Aging client Helen Plummer, who had named Amar to oversee her estate. In that role, Amar was to collect $120,000 over 20 years from a trust.
Plummer’s family publicly accused Amar of wrongdoing for using her position for financial gain from a client. Clark-Amar responded with a lawsuit in which she alleges that the Plummer family’s comments have caused her to suffer from mental anguish, distress, medical and pharmaceutical expenses, inconvenience, fear and fright, embarrassment, humiliation, aggravation, loss of ability to participate in normal activities, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of reputation and loss of earning capacity.
There was some initial disbelief that the case wound up on Clark’s docket. Dane Ciolino, law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and legal ethics expert, told the Louisiana Record that Clark ultimately did the right thing.
“She can’t sit on a case in judgment of her daughter,” Ciolino said. “She recused herself as the cannons of judicial conduct require and the code of civil procedure. That worked the way it was supposed to.”
Thirteen of Clark's colleagues also recused themselves.
“I am sure they can find somebody who can fairly hear it,” Ciolino said.