The City of Seabrook has won on its Motion for Summary Judgment in the lawsuit brought against it by Seabrook Partners, Ltd. Judge Benton signed the Order on April 15, 2003. This means that the City prevailed, as a matter of law, against the challenges raised by Phil Newton, the representative of Seabrook Partners, that the City had breached its obligations under a previous settlement agreement regarding Lakeside Drive. The City defended this suit and avoided a judgment that City Manager Bo McDaniel estimated could cost the taxpayers as much as $6,000,000. Mayor Robin Riley has stated that due to the importance of the issue, he will call a special Council meeting for April 23, to discuss recovering the legal fees spent by the City on this groundless lawsuit.
This comes on the heels of another successful Motion for Summary Judgment against Ted McCollom and Ted McCollom Interests, wherein McCollom claimed benefits under the same settlement agreement that was at issue in the Seabrook Partners case. The judge in that case ruled in favor of the City in October and December of 2002 and March 2003. The Council has authorized its lawyers to seek recovery of legal fees and sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit from McCollom.
Both Plaintiffs submitted proposals to end the litigation that would have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Council found no reason to impose the costs of private development on the taxpayers due to the strength of the Citys legal position.
The Mayor, City Manager and City Attorney anticipate that now that these suits have been concluded in the Citys favor, unless appeals are filed, legal fees will return to normal levels. There are no additional land development lawsuits pending against the City. The Mayor has stated, "The city is proud of its record of being able to work with developers which has resulted in the quality growth that we are currently enjoying. I hope this sends the message to developers who fail to follow the Citys ordinances and respect the interests of the taxpayers of the City of Seabrook, that Council will defend those interests to the full extent of the law."
For more information, contact Mayor Riley at 281-291-5683, or Bo McDaniel at 281-291-5688.