Monday, March 19, 2012

Unified Government Loses In Stiles Case - Again

Readers may remember that, back in May of last year, Judge T. Penn McWhorter issued a partial interlocutory injunction in Clarke County Superior Court against the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County in the Stiles Apartments parking case (a ruling in which he went to great lengths to rip City Hall’s conduct eight ways from Sunday).

The partial injunction did not deal with the crux of the matter, ownership of the those parking spaces located in front of Stiles Apartments on South Lumpkin Street over which Stiles originally filed suit in December 2010, but rather with things that City Hall had done, or was threatening to do, while the matter was making its way through the courts.

The Unified Government appealed the case, which given its nature went straight to the Georgia Supreme Court rather than the Court of Appeals.  The Supremes have issued their ruling, unanimously upholding the Superior Court’s partial injunction.

Without all of the legalese and citations, cutting straight to the point they affirmed the judgment for Stiles on two main points:

1)  1) “ACC may yet prevail on its claim that the agreement intended for all or part of the parking area to be used by the public at large. However, for the purposes of deciding whether to grant the interlocutory injunction, the trial court accepted the evidence supporting the construction of the agreement as argued by Stiles Apartments. As there is evidence authorizing the grant of interlocutory injunctive relief, the trial court did not manifestly abuse its discretion.”

     2) “ACC also raises the defenses of laches, waiver, and the statute of limitations. However, a review of the record shows that these issues were not ruled on by the trial court. Therefore, they may not be raised on appeal.”

So, the Unified Government has spent yet another pot of taxpayer money (probably, like in the original Superior Court proceedings, on outside counsel) on yet another losing legal battle, so that it can further pursue its losing strategy in the Stiles case.  The folks down at City Hall should be paying very close attention to this; I assure you that some of we citizens surely are.

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