Lawyers representing slain Mercer University law graduate Lauren Giddings’ parents in a $5 million-plus wrongful death suit say the lawyer for her alleged killer hasn’t complied with requirements of the discovery process.
In an “unopposed motion” to stay the civil proceedings until after Stephen McDaniel’s criminal trial, the Giddingses’ lawyers allege that McDaniel’s lawyer has said “he was instructed not to answer the discovery by Judge Howard Simms.”
Simms, a Superior Court judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit, is presiding in McDaniel’s criminal case, which is set for trial April 28 in Henry County.
Simms issued an order in January prohibiting “extrajudicial” communication in the case.
In a Feb. 3 federal court filing, McDaniel’s lawyer, Floyd Buford, wrote that “per oral order communicated” by Simms, he is prohibited from producing the requested materials “unless and until he receives court approval.”
Buford declined comment Monday.
The discovery process involves pretrial procedures, such as taking depositions, for compelling the disclosure of pertinent factual information.
Federal rules require requests for information in the discovery process to be answered in writing within 30 days of their receipt, according to documents accompanying the motion for a stay.
The Giddingses’ lawyers, Richard Schneider and Kristin Miller, contend that the responses to discovery have been “inadequate,” but they say the trial’s completion may eliminate some of the objections to providing information.
Giddings’ torso was found June 30, 2011, in a trash bin outside the Georgia Avenue apartment complex where she and McDaniel, 28, were neighbors.
The rest of her remains have not been recovered.
McDaniel is charged with murder in the 27-year-old’s death.
Giddings’ parents, Billy and Karen Giddings, filed the federal lawsuit last year, days shy of the two-year anniversary of the last time Giddings was seen alive.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.