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The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit that had sought to force the state Department of Human Services to release records from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's personnel file there, with the court ruling the issue moot after Rutledge released the records herself.

The action came nearly nine months after the legal fight over Rutledge's personnel file began during her re-election campaign, as Democrats sought eight missing pages from the file.

Rutledge was overwhelmingly re-elected in November, beating Democrat Mike Lee.

Lee and other Democrats had called for the Human Services Department to release Rutledge's complete personnel file from when she worked in the department's Children and Family Services Division a decade before. When the department redacted eight pages from the request, Democratic Party staff member Reed Brewer filed suit, claiming the department had violated public-record laws.

In August, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox agreed, and ordered the department to release the files.

Instead, Rutledge herself decided to release the missing pages, calling the issue a "distraction."

The attorney general also called upon the department to appeal Fox's decision, saying it set a bad precedent. That appeal also was dismissed Wednesday by the Court of Appeals.

The missing pages showed that Rutledge had twice been given warnings by her supervisors after being late to court and missing phone calls from a social worker, but that otherwise she received "satisfactory" performance reviews.

In December 2007, Rutledge quit her job at the department without giving notice. She left to work on the presidential campaign on former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

After she quit, her personnel file was amended to say that she was terminated for "gross misconduct," and Rutledge was placed on a "do-not-rehire" list.

In a news conference with reporters during the campaign, Rutledge expressed regret about her sudden departure.

Metro on 05/16/2019

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