« Ind. Courts - More on "Defense seeks gag order of Marion Co. daycare shooting victim" | Main | Ind. Decisions - More dialogue on the Supreme Court's decision this week in Bond v. State »

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ind. Decisions - "Judge orders citizen to pay city's attorneys' fees: Plaintiff's attorney plans to appeal decision in power plant objection"

Updating a long list of earlier ILB entries on Julie Kitchell v. City of Logansport (see this July 17, 2013 post for an overview, and this Nov. 14, 2013 post for the result), Michael Kirk of the Pharos Tribune reports today:

A Cass County judge ruled Thursday a Logansport citizen must pay more than $24,000 in attorneys’ fees the mayor and city council received during a lawsuit regarding the city’s power plant project.

Julie Kitchell, Logansport, represented by attorney Jim Brugh, filed the lawsuit in March 2013 alleging the city did not follow a sequence spelled out in state public-private agreement law with a company proposing to develop a power plant in the city.

The city’s attorneys argued since the suit was first filed that the state’s public-private agreement statutes do not require sequential timing.

After being dismissed where it was first filed in Cass County Superior Court II, the suit was eventually argued before the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the city.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin and the city’s attorneys have called the charges frivolous since the suit was first filed and expressed a desire to seek the city’s attorneys’ fees from Kitchell.

An order issued by Cass County Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer Thursday granted the city’s petition for all $24,235 of its attorneys’ fees for work done at the county level of the lawsuit. * * *

The state supreme court did not grant the city’s request for attorneys’ fees for work done at the appellate level of the lawsuit. Franklin said the lawsuit has cost the city a total of about $70,000. * * *

Brugh also said it would be inappropriate for Kitchell to pay the city’s attorneys’ fees because the suit was a case of first impression. He maintained this position upon learning of the decision on the fees.

“There is no rationale that can reasonably lead to the conclusion that Julie Kitchell’s case was not a matter of first impression,” Brugh said Thursday.

In his findings of fact in the case, [Mark Crandley, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg’s Indianapolis office representing Franklin in the case] writes because the case never raised a legitimate issue under public-private agreement statutes, “there was no case at all, much less one of first impression.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 16, 2014 09:09 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions