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Annexation lawsuit hearing delayed


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A third judge is scheduled to hear a lawsuit against the City of Havre and Hill County by several annexed parties pertaining to the city's annexation of property in December.

May 20, Jason Holden, representation for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, requested that a judge other than David Rice hear the case.

Judge Laurie McKinnon of Choteau was appointed. Hill County then on June 3 requested another judge be substituted, and E. Wayne Phillips, based out of Lewistown, assumed the case.

A hearing had been set for Thursday, but Phillips instead set a telephonic scheduling conference for Thursday, June 24, at 10 a.m. In the suit, plaintiffs Security National Properties Funding II LLC, the owner of Holiday Village Mall, Northern Borders LLC, CP Properties LLC, David Clausen and Patrick Newton claim that the city did not properly follow statute when annexing by using both the petition provision and provision of services rule for annexing and are asking for monetary relief for damages.

The plaintiffs also are asking that the court "declare that the County shall not comply with the City's annexation plan," according to court documents.

The county has stipulated that it will not work with the city for negotiations concerning the transfer of county services to city control for properties annexed using the petition method until it receives direction from the court.

The county also is asking the court to determine whether or not the annexation is legal, to clarify the city and county's obligations with the annexation and to give the county supplemental relief and any further relief "as the Court deems just and equitable."

The city, being represented by McKenna Law P.C. out of Bozeman, has filed a motion to dismiss.


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