Attorney plans to amend complaint in $18 fee lawsuit

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

By Scott Loftis

Attorneys representing a Berryville man in a class-action lawsuit challenging an $18 charge being assessed to property owners in Carroll County plan to file an amended complaint that likely will delay a final hearing in the case.

Fayetteville attorney Matt Bishop filed a motion for continuance earlier this week in Carroll County Circuit Court, asking Circuit Judge Scott Jackson to reschedule the final hearing, which originally was set for Wednesday, June 19.

Bishop and colleague Wendy Howerton represent Paul Summers of Berryville. They filed suit in May 2018, challenging the $18 charge that is being assessed with the intention of repaying bondholders who purchased $12,340,000 in bonds issued by the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District in October 2005 to finance the purchase of the now-defunct North Arkansas Board of Regional Sanitation (NABORS) Landfill in Baxter County. The assessment, which could continue for 30 years or more, also is intended to repay the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for up to $16.5 million in costs related to closing and cleaning up the landfill.

The charge is being assessed in the six counties included in the solid waste district — Carroll, Baxter, Boone, Marion, Newton and Searcy. After filing suit in Carroll County, Bishop and Howerton have since filed similar complaints in each of the other five affected counties.

In his motion for continuance, Bishop writes that since a hearing in March, three depositions have been taken and thousands of documents have been exchanged in the case.

“Plaintiff still needs to take at least one additional deposition, and needs to amend his Complaint to add an additional cause of action,” Bishop writes.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the solid waste district and Carroll County tax collector Kay Phillips. In his motion, Bishop writes that he has consulted with the defendants’ attorneys and they have no objection to a continuance.

As of Thursday morning, Jackson had not issued an order on Bishop’s motion.

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