Lawyers: ‘Pink slime’ lawsuit an uphill climb

September 14, 2012

[caption width="250" caption=" "][/caption]

About six years of legal dispute between Wedgewood Limited Partnership and Liberty Township seems to have come to a close, with the township set to pay $1.95 million in damages surrounding a proposed Walmart.

Township administrator Dave Anderson said that Wedgewood signed the township trustees’ “release and settlement agreement” Friday.

“We’re putting it to bed,” said Anderson. “I’m glad to conclude that chapter.”

The township is to pay Wedgewood the $750,000 in damages and $1.2 million for Wedgewood’s attorney. Additionally, the township spent more than $1 million in related legal fees between 2007 and 2009.

Regarding potential future developments, Anderson said he hoped “the developer understands 24-7 retail operations at that site and will find a better use for it.”

Yet, for now, there is no pending activity on the property and no zoning applications have been filed, according to Anderson.

The battle between Wedgewood and the township began in 2004, when the partnership’s request for a zoning permit to build a Walmart Superstore was denied.

Wedgewood president Charles Ruma argued that his constitutional right to due process had been violated, filed a federal lawsuit,

“After Wedgewood filed an application in 2003 to build the Wal-Mart store, township trustees passed new regulations limiting the square footage of permissible development on the site, which zoned out the large Wal-Mart store, and gave the township veto power over any further development on the site,” according to a statement from Wedgewood’s legal team. The U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley ruled in favor of Wedgewood in 2008.

The trustees had suggested that the proposed 220,600-square foot building exceeded the cap, but, as Anderson said, the court found that the cap was not enforceable.

Wedgewood had considered a 34-acre plot at 10600 Sawmill Parkway as the site for the superstore.

Walmart reportedly declined the offer to buy the property after the U.S. District Court ruling three years ago.

Ruma was not available for comment by print date.