Sunday, September 25, 2016

WTC lawsuit is back on for now

So that new state law the mayor had passed specifically to shut down the WTC lawsuit, isn't going to shut it down so easily.
At issue in the case before the 4th Circuit was whether Chase mistakenly ordered Two Canal to put up $750,000 in security — an amount representing court costs for Carpenter and Woodward, the city and the NOBC. When Two Canal didn’t do so within 10 days, Chase threw out the case.

That was incorrect, the appellate judges said, but for only some of the reasons Two Canal argued in a Sept. 15 hearing on the matter.

Although Two Canal attorney Daniel Davillier argued that Carpenter and Woodward jumped into the case voluntarily and thus by law couldn’t have their costs included in the security amount, the appeals court said the team’s costs could be included because they are an “indispensable party” to a case that seeks to void their city lease.

The problem is that Carpenter and Woodward want to include too much, too soon, the judges said. The two firms asked Two Canal to cover their deposition and expert witness fees, but such costs usually are considered only after cases go to trial, the court said. Certain costs the NOBC and the city aren’t paying now but will pay later can’t be included, either, it said.

If such fees were routinely allowed to be included in security payments, plaintiffs could be priced out of court, the judges said. “This would deprive a plaintiff of the opportunity to seek justice in a court of law,” they said.
The judges here appear to be directly rejecting the intent of a law passed this year at the mayor's urging that would make it more difficult to sue so called public benefit corporations.  It's not necessary to have a particular dog in the WTC fight to understand that limiting legal recourse against potentially corrupt big money real estate deals might be a bit shortsighted. 

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