Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 26, 2013
Overlake lawsuit closer to a ruling

Tooele City may get a shot at a new trial in the multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by Tooele Associates, or a jury award may be upheld that will net $20.7 million to the developer of Overlake.

Attorneys representing Tooele City and Tooele Associates were back in the courtroom Tuesday as 3rd District Court Judge Randall Skanchy listened to arguments from both sides on two legal points related to the calculation of the amount of damages.

In an Aug. 19 memorandum decision, Skanchy said he needed more information before he issues a final judgment and rules on Tooele City’s request for either a new trial or a modification of the jury verdict.

“It is all about water,” said Attorney Bruce Baird for Tooele Associates. “It has already been determined by a jury that Tooele City violated the development agreement.”

Tooele Associates, under the terms of the development agreement, gave Tooele City 687 acre-feet of water rights, 120 acres of land for a park, the right to buy additional land at a discount, easements at no cost, and built an 18-hole golf course as part of the development agreement.

Tooele City, according to the agreement, was to provide water for the development, Baird said.

Now all Tooele Associates wants is the value of the water the city was to provide in the development agreement.

Tooele City’s attorneys previously argued that there was no evidence as a matter of law to support the 2009 jury verdict.

Attorneys for Tooele City also asserted that Tooele Associates’ method of calculating damages did not take into account costs that Tooele Associates would not incur as a result of the development agreement being voided.

Baird countered that Tooele Associates would not save any costs as a result of the voided development agreement. As Overlake is developed, even without the agreement, the developer will still need to put in roads, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and other infrastructure, Baird said.

The hearing on Tuesday lasted about 90 minutes. Skanchy told the attorneys during the hearing that he has already prepared a draft of his ruling.

Attorneys on both sides said that they expect Skanchy may issue a ruling in a matter of weeks.

While Skanchy’s ruling will be a pivotal point in this lengthy case, it may not mark the end of the litigation.

If Skanchy’s ruling upholds the jury verdict, he will need to weigh in on Tooele Associates’ request for prejudgment interest of 10 percent annually, amounting to $5,600 per day or $2 million per year since the day of the verdict on June 19, 2009.

“There will also be the possibility of appeals,” said Baird.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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