Hopefully the litigation between Tooele City and Tooele Associates (Overlake litigation) will come to an end in 2013. The final outcome is yet undetermined as Tooele City has recently filed motions still seeking to overturn the jury verdict. The District Court will likely rule on these motions this calendar year. The evidence presented at trial, contrary to what you have been told by city officials, supports the jury verdict. Last year the Utah Appellate Court stated the following in a unanimous ruling reaffirming the jury verdict:
“The jury’s work in this case was exemplary. The jury completed a legally complex special verdict form with a nuanced understanding of the legal principles spelled out in the court’s instructions.”
The Utah Supreme Court rejected the city’s appeal of the Appellate Court ruling.
Utah courts are rightfully very reluctant to alter a jury verdict when there is, as is the case with this trial, sufficient evidence to support the verdict.
In the meantime, I want people to know that Tooele City, contrary to what they have often said in public, has made absolutely no effort at all over the past four years to settle this dispute. I have never received a phone call or any other form of direct communication from anyone at Tooele City in regards to a settlement. Nada. Nil. Nothing.
In 2008, I approached Mayor Dunlavy at city hall and suggested, as I had on other occasions since his election in 2005, that we settle the case. His reply as he walked away:
“We have spent too much money on this litigation to settle.”
That’s the last conversation I had with Mayor Dunlavy. Since then the city has paid over $2.5 million in legal fees, bringing the city’s total legal costs to over $4.5 million. The latest payment of legal fees of $53,090 was made last month. More legal costs are forthcoming.
I leave it to you to reconcile these facts with numerous statements by the mayor and members of the city council over the past several years suggesting that the city has tried everything to resolve the litigation. The only strategy employed by the city has been continuous litigation.
If any city official says that the city has made attempts in recent years to settle with Tooele Associates, that statement is untruthful. And they know it.
Drew D. Hall, Managing Partner
Tooele Associates, LP