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Mountain Park Life :: Forums :: City Issues
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Council

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SteveP
Fri Apr 01 2011, 11:08PM
Registered Member #466
Joined: Fri Apr 01 2011, 04:34PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 8
I registered today to ask this and realize what I ask may be outdated because of the time lag in the minutes that I just read.

A response that it's all over and forget about it would be fine to me but if it isn't:

1) Was the walk away agreement completed and executed?
2) What prompted the large turn out to support the original motion for the walk away agreement?
3) Is my assumption correct that the judge has not given his ruling yet?
4) What happened with the insurance companies that filed a lawsuit not to have to pay on any damages but just to defend their insureds only?

I would not blindly follow Martin Shelton and his matrix with his previous lack of accomplishments. It may be grounds for an appeal but I think it would be disproved if it was part of a trial and the judge must have had good reasons not to allow it. I don’t have confidence that there is a scientific method that can prove how much sediment came from where and when whether from the developers or other sources.

I think we were unrealistic to the jury and ourselves about how much sediment came from the developers as opposed to other sources and they took it further with 20% to the developers and 80% from other sources.
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SteveP
Wed Apr 06 2011, 12:48AM
Registered Member #466
Joined: Fri Apr 01 2011, 04:34PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 8
What I think about the most is why the judge and jury made the decisions that they did, especially the mathmatics.

Below Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC came up with the 35 years since the lake has been dredged? If there are contradictions to the 35 years, it is either a mistake or in the trial there must have been an understanding as to the legal definition of thorough dredging which was 35 years ago to them.

If the 35 years is correct, I can understand the 20%/80% percentages better. If the jury had some of the matrix information the developers could have been given more than 20%, but so what at this point.
-
""November 30, 2010
(Atlanta, November 30, 2010) – Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC is pleased to announce that the firm successfully defended its client, Day Investments II, LLC, against claims for nuisance and violation of the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit was filed by the City of Mountain Park, Ga. The City had sought injunctive relief and over $4 million in damages and penalties, plus $1.5 million in attorneys’ fees and punitive damages at trial against Day Investments, II, LLC and other defendants. Day Investments II, LLC, an investment firm, was involved in the development of a subdivision in Roswell, Ga. near the city of Mountain Park. A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia decided after a three-week trial that Day Investments, II, LLC did not violate the Clean Water Act, and awarded only $5,000 for the nuisance claim and no legal fees.

The Baker Donelson team that secured the favorable judgment was led by shareholder Jennifer G. Cooper, and included shareholders Steven R. Press and Adam G. Sowatzka, and associate Damany F. Ransom.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case, and believe that it sets a precedent for future cases involving Clean Water Act claims arising from storm water run-off,” says Ms. Cooper, who focuses her practice on environmental litigation.

The case began in 2005 when Mountain Park, a town of 550 residents, filed a suit alleging that developers had polluted the lakes surrounding the community with work site run-off. The jury, however, found that the lakes had silt problems for decades and had not been dredged in over 35 years. The jury held the town responsible for 80 percent of the silt in its lake. ""


link
or
http://www.bakerdonelson.com/baker-donelson-successfully-defends-day-investments-ii-llc-11-30-2010/
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Client-9
Wed Apr 06 2011, 02:28AM
Registered Member #311
Joined: Wed Mar 12 2008, 12:36PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 30
Martin Shelton should switch careers. He makes a pretty good PR man for his opponents. Mountain Park funded a 2 million dollar commercial.

Eliot
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SteveP
Thu Apr 07 2011, 12:27AM
Registered Member #466
Joined: Fri Apr 01 2011, 04:34PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 8
Eliot, it kind of does look like they did a promotion out of this.

Did you notice that one defendant, Day had 4 attorneys for input? Hypothetically do that times 9 defendants

We've had bad advice and to be careful to scrutinize any more of it.

It was obvious to settle this.

First the time span for damages got argued down by all these attorneys to 3 years from the 7 years that we requested all of it stopping in 2007 either way. There was a problem going back prior to 2003 or that wouldn’t have happened.

Next these attorneys shot down our expert witnesses with that Daubert Motion so we could not use them. There was a problem with our expert witness approach or it would not have gotten shot down.

Now there is a legal precedence that are in the written records so the same arguments will be used again.

I have faith in the system as long as it’s understood that money buys you justice. We were treated fairly with the amount of justice that we could buy.
The basic problem was in the legitimacy of our arguments plus with that many attorneys to expose the weaknesses in our case.
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GeorgeM
Thu Apr 07 2011, 02:15PM
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
Mountain Park did not lose the litigation because there were more lawyers on the other side of the case. Nor did the City lose the case because we were outspent (the City did nothing to control the spending on the case - that is why it cost $2 million+). The case was lost because:

(a) Mountain Park failed to objectively evaluate the strength of the case at the outset [the existence of correspondence in the City's files going back 50+ years documenting the problems with silt in Lake Garrett should have been considered and properly weighed before the lawsuit was filed, and certainly before 5 years passed and $2 million was wasted]. And,

(b) the experts in Mr. Shelton's posse, and Mr. Shelton, were known to be substandard - a fact that was disclosed to the City in 2005 by a Mountain Park resident who is an engineer with trial experience with this attorney and these very experts. The Daubert Hearing disaster merely confirmed the weaknesses of the attorney, his experts and the case. Unfortunately, the Council majority (consisting at various times of: Julia Neal, Bill Pulling, Bill Schmidt, Debbie Upham, Leslie Wheeler, Claire Johnson [who served on Council, and later was hired as a "consultant" for the lake litigation], Rock Heindel, and Ben Counter) didn't want to hear that there were weaknesses in the case, and they pressed forward. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Or, perhaps more appropriately, "Banzai!"

Blame for the outrageous cost also lies with the before-mentioned Mountain Park officials and the City Attorney who provided little oversight during the course of the litigation - even though there were requests from many citizens (and the reasonable minority on Council) as time passed, and plenty of evidence as things progressed (much of which was placed at the forefront of the community) that the wheels were coming off the case. Some elected officials who fought so vigorously for the litigation, including Claire Johnson who has become so outspoken in demanding an appeal (and the recusal of John McLaughlin), were a big part of the problem.

Don't blame the lawyers on the other side of the case for the result. The responsibility for the outcome rests squarely with Mr. Shelton and the City officials and City Attorney, who should have properly evaluated the case at the outset, and who had a responsibility to provide oversight during the course of the litigation. It is also clear now a huge opportunity was wasted when these same City officials refused to accept settlement offers which would have avoided the extraordinary expense of the litigation.

Note, dear readers, that the City has retained Mr. Shelton to continue the representation.

Now, to the McLaughlin conflict-of-interest issue.

How completely absurd. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to take control of Council by the very group in this City that initiated the lake litigation in the first place (and who now want to see the City continue the bleeding through a lengthy - and ill advised - appeal). They are bullies. When they are not shouting at Council meetings they are posting here using new (and anonymous) screen names, attempting to pressure John McLaughlin, a voting Council member with an opposing view, to recuse himself.

John has done nothing inappropriate, and he has no friendships or business relationships which would disqualify him from considering any Council business regarding the lake litigation. There is a character assassination game playing out, and it needs to be recognized for what it is.
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Client-9
Fri Apr 08 2011, 01:37AM
Registered Member #311
Joined: Wed Mar 12 2008, 12:36PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 30
It is anyone's guess how many attorneys, clerks, staff, and "experts" the city was paying for during the years long debacle. A lot of people made a lot of money while a lot of people had their property taxes raised.

Eliot
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SteveP
Sat Apr 09 2011, 12:57AM
Registered Member #466
Joined: Fri Apr 01 2011, 04:34PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 8
George, I agree most of what you say and I appreciate the information. There’s a gap in the council minutes for some reason in 2011 so there is a gap in events. I think the problem is a new way of presenting minutes and nothing deceitful.

The defendants had more attorneys so they had more brains. If we had the same amount of brains, this lawsuit would never had been managed so incompetently. What would you have done if you were sitting there physically involved in the decisions? I would have lost control of myself.

We changed city attorneys. The one at the time, I was told, stated at least, basically advised several members that you don’t hire an attorney this way and this was during hiring Martin Shelton. The council members at the time felt that it would be over quickly, wait until they see our lawsuit, they had never done this before so it was a first read and it was the only thing that Martin Shelton did good, it read so powerfully. They will have their checkbooks out.
I feel like the present city attorney decided to do what a city attorney does normally. This isn’t a normal situation. I think he’s attempted to give subtle advice that went over everyone’s head.
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Client-9
Mon Apr 18 2011, 01:44AM
Registered Member #311
Joined: Wed Mar 12 2008, 12:36PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 30
Has anyone heard anything from the city council or the mayor about where we stand on the judge's ruling; an appeal; or a plan for silt removal? It seems that the last word was hire Shelton's new firm; get rid of McLaughlin on some trumped up conflict issue; and make no decision. What gives?

Eliot
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editor
Thu Apr 21 2011, 02:31PM

Joined: Tue Jul 12 2005, 10:03PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 236
Editor: The posting below by Client-9, originally in the Chat box, has been moved into the Forum where it belongs as an opinion. The Chat box is for announcements, milestones, best wishes, etc. All opinions following the Rules and Agreement guidelines link are welcome in the Forum.

Client-9:
Apr 20 : 00:02
GOOD GRIEF

Work Session has something more interesting than a letter to the citizens about lakes litigation.

There is an entry under new business that raises some interest / concern. In this little town we need someone to protect our King and Royal Court?

Again, GOOD GRIEF

link

Are you serious?
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TaxedEnough
Sun Apr 24 2011, 03:11PM
Registered Member #338
Joined: Sat Jun 14 2008, 08:40PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 16
If the outstanding bill for the litigation is $900,000, then the write-off should be $900,000, not $500k. This taxpayer will not stand to see another dollar of his taxes paid to the firm who so poorly advised the City, and who so poorly represented us in settlement negotiations and in the trial. What a travesty. What an outrage. It would be absurd for Council to consider anything other than a full write-off of the balance.

In reality, the representation was worthless and poorly executed. The City and citizens should demand a refund.
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