Lawsuit against city stuck in appeals courts |

Lawsuit against city stuck in appeals courts

Christina M. Currie

Litigants in the Estey-Simpson lawsuit are content to wait; waiting for a ruling from judges in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Estey-Simpson property dispute began in 1997 when Craig City Council entertained a bid from Louisiana attorney Glen E. Stinson for the Estey-Simpson Reservoir owned by the city. Council signed a contract to sell the property, but in the face of citizen outcry, did not pass an ordinance to sell the property. Stinson sued the city, contending it breached the signed contract. He argued the city did not need to pass an ordinance to sell the property.

The city continues to contend a property sale is only valid if an ordinance is passed or with a vote of the people; neither occurred in the Estey-Simpson case.

After spending $50,000 on litigation, the city was named the victor when federal court Judge Richard Matsch ruled in favor of a motion presented by the city to dismiss the case presented by the city.

Stinson decided to appeal Matsch’s decision and now both sides are playing a waiting game.

According to City Attorney Sherman Romney, the average time a case sits in the appeals court is 23 months and the city is about half way through that.

“They just sit on a pile down there,” Romney said. “It’s the bottle neck of the judicial system.”

Despite the time the case is taking, Romney is still optimistic that Matsch’s decision will be upheld.

“I feel like the law is on our side,” he said.