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Harris amends legal complaint against Walton County

Mar 2nd, 2012 | 0

By DOTTY NIST

Suzanne Harris’ legal representation recently filed an amended complaint on her behalf in connection with her lawsuit against Walton County.

This is in connection the lawsuit challenging Walton County’s acquisition of a .45-acre parcel at the U.S. 331-Chat Holley Road intersection. The suit includes the request that the court “declare void” the purchase of the property and “demand repayment” of all taxpayer funds expended in connection with the transaction.

Harris’ original lawsuit, filed on Nov. 21 in Walton County Circuit Court, had named the Walton County Board of County Commissioners as the only defendant. The amended complaint, filed on Feb. 16, includes 331 Bayside Properties, L.L.C., and attorney George Ralph Miller as defendants. Walton County, Florida is also substituted for the Walton County Board of County Commissioners as the other defendant.

In a motion filed in December, Walton County had made the argument that the plaintiffs’ naming of the “Walton County Board of County Commissioners” as defendant rather than “Walton County” was improper. Section 125.15 of Florida Statutes, which reads, “The county commissioners shall sue and be sued in the name of the county of which they are commissioners,” was cited.

However, like the original complaint, Harris’ amended complaint states that she “reserves the right to move that this Court assess her attorneys’ fees and costs against individual members of the County Government….”

Defendant 331 Bayside Properties, L.L.C., is the company from which the county purchased the half-acre parcel for right-of-way and road improvements to Chat Holley Road and the road’s intersection with U.S. 331. The L.L.C. is owned by Lloyd Blue and his wife Alexa Pleas. Miller served as special counsel for the county for oversight of the purchase of the parcel. The amended complaint says of each that the county maintains it to be “an indispensible party” that “should be included in this litigation.”

In other developments with the lawsuit since its filing, on Dec. 28, Harris’ representatives met with those of the county and agreed that “paper discovery” would proceed immediately with the litigation, The county agreed to make the commissioners available for deposition in writing by no later than the end of March, or as otherwise agreed to by the parties.

In early January, Walton County filed a request for production by Harris of: copies of all documents and materials received by her in response to any of her public records requests to Walton County related to Chat Holley Road, Miller, or Blue; all e-mails between herself and Walton County; copies of all cell phone bills containing records of communication between her and Walton County; copies of correspondence between her and Walton County; copies of all video/audio recordings of any meeting or communication between her and Walton County; and copies of all video/audio recordings and photographic records in her possession related to Chat Holley Road, Miller, or Blue. The county’s request for production covered the period from Jan. 1, 2010 to the present.

Harris is being represented in the litigation by the law firm of Keefe, Anchors, Gordon & Moyle in Fort Walton Beach. The Warner Law firm of Panama City is representing Walton County.

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