Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard has ordered that all documents related to the complaint — filed originally by an Acworth woman who accuses him of sexual battery — be turned in to him so he can decide if they should be public or sealed.
Attorneys for Waffle House Inc., Mye Brooke Brindle and the man she accuses, are now required to turn in all documents, as well as hold all deposition hearings during the discovery phase in Leonard’s jury room.
Leonard met with all parties for almost three hours Monday afternoon. They will continue pre-trial hearings this morning on two motions, followed by a contempt of court hearing that both sides say was withdrawn but for which the judge asked for an explanation on the original filing.
Request for privileged information
Atlanta attorney William B. Hill was representing Waffle House Inc. in Monday’s discussion.
He argued that any documentation relating to the company, which he deems as privileged, should be returned to the company immediately.
The documentation Hill sought to keep under wraps was reportedly taken by Dr. Ann Parker, who told the court she was the vice president of human resources for the company for 11 years. She left the company in 2010.
Parker said during an early-February deposition that after originally meeting Brindle’s attorneys, she mailed them a package.
On Monday, she said she couldn’t recall what the package contained but said it had what was referred to as a Smartcard and paperwork from the company.
Hill argued that any testimony Parker gave during the deposition could be in violation of client-patient confidentiality agreement because she is a certified psychologist who worked for the company as a corporate psychologist.
Marietta attorney John Butters, one of three attorneys representing Brindle, said they didn’t believe information Parker had could be deemed confidential because she never served in her psychologist role while with the company.
Leonard said he would need to see all documents in order to make a formal ruling and that they should be filed by 5 p.m. today. He also said he didn’t believe there was any distinction between a corporate or clinical psychologist regarding confidentiality privileges.
Questions on relationship
There also was discussion over whether Parker ever had a sexual relationship with the Waffle House CEO and loved him, if she personally knew anyone who was in a sexual relationship with him and whether Parker ever felt threatened by Hill or Rogers’ wife Fran.
Marietta attorney Robert Ingram, who was hired to represent Rogers, asked Parker these questions.
She said she only heard rumors of other affairs, admitted to a relationship with Rogers, said that she loved him, and that she thought Hill’s constant asking of the same question and objections during the deposition were threatening.
Ingram also asked if Parker ever went to Rogers’ home in fishnet stockings and a garter, to which she replied, “Yes,” after several objections by Butters.
“She has an ax to grind,” Ingram explained in his reasoning for the question. “She is a jilted lover.”
Leonard said that when he listened to clips from the deposition, he could see where Parker could have felt a little threatened and warned both sets of attorneys against doing so again in the future.
“I’m not saying anybody here has crossed the line, but I do see where Dr. Parker would feel threatened,” he said.
The judge also ordered that all depositions be held in his courtroom so that they meet the deadline of June 30 for discovery.
Brindle worked for Rogers between 2003 and 2012.
In July 2012, her attorneys sent a letter to Rogers notifying that she had video and audio recordings of the sexual acts and her intentions to sue unless the dispute was resolved.
In September 2012, while sides were in mediation, one of Rogers’ attorneys filed a suit against Brindle in Cobb.
Shortly thereafter, Brindle sued Rogers in Fulton County State Court sealing the case, though she eventually withdrew the suit and re-filed in Cobb as a counterclaim to Rogers’ suit against her.
In late September, Bridle filed a report with Atlanta Police accusing Rogers of sexual battery.