FARMINGTON — A Bountiful attorney says he will take the Davis County Commission back to court to resolve a dispute over legal fees involving a fluoride flap that has lasted seven years.
David Irvine, a private attorney representing the pro-fluoride group Utahns for Better Dental Health, said he will file the motion next week.
The move comes after the commission, on Tuesday during its regular weekly meeting, tabled a proposed settlement with the group.
Commission Chairman Bret Millburn declined to talk about the settlement discussions, saying it was an ongoing legal case.
“We need to do due diligence,” he said. “There is additional information to review.”
But to that comment, Irvine angrily retorted, “There was no new information.”
Davis voters in 2000 supported an issue adding fluoride to the county’s drinking water system. Irvine’s group successfully fought a citizen’s revote petition slated for 2002, based on grounds the petition was accepted late.
Another petition drive put it back up for a revote four years later, and the issue narrowly passed.
The dispute over the fees went all the way to the Utah Supreme Court, which ruled in 2007 the fees be determined and paid.
Irvine believed his group and the county had come to an agreement earlier in the year but that county leaders became upset about a May 2 Standard-Examiner article that said the agreement was in the final stages.
The settlement amount was $235,000, said Irvine, whose practice is based in Salt Lake City.
But the derailed bargaining prompted him to head back to court.
“We are not happy to do this,” Irvine said. “We don’t see any alternative except to get danced around for a longer period.”
Millburn and others in the bargaining session hope mediation or arbitration might settle the case.
“We discussed it in a closed session,” said County Attorney Troy Rawlings. “We are making a conscious effort to be fair, to make a prudent and wise use of taxpayers’ dollars.”
Irvine said he will ask for even more settlement money based on his continuing legal work since the first of the year.
Janet Jenson, a Salt Lake City attorney, also contributed to the group’s work and is also due legal fees as part of the settlement.