Arab Water Works manager Rodney Hyatt has asked the City of Arab to put on hold all matters pertaining to the city’s lawsuit against the water board until the Alabama Supreme Court rules on pending appeals.
The city sued the water board in Marshall County Circuit Court earlier this year after the board refused to add fluoride back to the city’s water supply as directed by the council.
The board has since added fluoride back to the water supply pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
Hyatt sent the letter to Mayor Bob Joslin and the Arab City Council late last week.
Hyatt called the request an effort to minimum legal expenses while the matter is being appealed, basically saying there is no point in doing anything until the Supreme Court issues a ruling.
Joslin said he received the letter and will present it for consideration to city attorneys and the city council at Monday night’s council meeting.
Also, regarding legal expenses in the case, The Arab Tribune has requested from the City of Arab and Arab Water Works, per the Alabama Open Records Act, a breakdown of legal expenses paid or payable by the city and the water board.
The Tribune requested the expenses from Jan. 1 to May 27.
As of press time Tuesday, the Tribune had not received a reply from the city or the water board.
The following is the edited text of Hyatt’s letter to the council.
Dear Mayor Joslin and City Council:
In an effort to minimize the substantial legal expense which will be incurred by the city and the water board associated with litigating in Marshall County Circuit Court and the Alabama Supreme Court at the same time, AWW is requesting the city mutually agree to voluntarily “stand still,” or temporarily place on “hold,” the litigation pending the outcome of the appeal in the Supreme Court.
We only see benefits to the city and AWW in agreeing to such a stand still. If the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the city on the pending appeal then we expect the city and AWW would both be in a position to pick up the litigation in the circuit court at the stage it is currently today.
If the Supreme Court were to issue a ruling that substantially resolves this matter in its entirety then the city and AWW have both benefited by avoiding the additional substantial expense associated with unnecessary litigation.
At a minimum, we would expect the ruling from the Supreme Court to likely impact the scope of discovery, if any, and issues to be determined, if any, going forward in the circuit court litigation, which would almost certainly avoid unnecessary or duplicative expenses.
We suggest the AWW board has an obligation to be good and prudent stewards toward ratepayers and consumers of AWW, and that the mayor and city council have a similar obligation toward the taxpayers and citizens of Arab.
We hope you agree and, likewise, will agree to voluntarily stand still the circuit court litigation pending the outcome of the appeal.
Lastly, as you know, artificial fluoride was reintroduced by AWW into the community water supply on Monday, May 16. Please be assured that this reintroduction will remain in place during any stand still period and until such time as a court order permits and the appropriate governing body determines otherwise.
We sincerely appreciate your consideration of our request and hope to hear from you soon that you are agreeable to our proposal.