Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
The battle over the entertainment center entered the next chapter of its saga when a judge’s ruling left both the City of Irving and the Las Colinas Group (LCG) with small victories, minor defeats and a lot of ground to cover before July’s jury trial.
In the ruling delivered a few days after the Mar. 4 hearing, the judge again denied LCG’s $100 million lost profits suit and roundly rejected the City’s claim that the entire lawsuit was frivolous. The court allowed LCG to pursue the original $39 million, however. Although they do not know exactly how much it is worth, LCG is pressuring the City to pay for intellectual property.
The City seems just as confident as LCG that the ruling was a significant blow to their opponent.
“We’re very pleased the Judge once again threw out the $100 million lost profits claim. We are confident the Court of Appeals will dismiss LCG’s remaining frivolous claims as well,” a statement by Don Colleluori, outside counsel for the City of Irving, read.
City Councilwoman Rose Cannaday disagrees with the City’s self-assured attitude.
“The Mayor wanted a lawsuit, and she’s got a lawsuit … She’s gone around calling it frivolous and it’s anything but frivolous,” Cannaday insisted. “Now we’re on the line for $39 million … and we stand to lose a lot of money.”
As part of the ruling, the judge ordered mediation to try to come to an agreement before both sides spend millions of dollars and what could add up to years in the appeals system. The legal council will not be the only ones in attendance, however, as the judge has ordered that at least part of the City Council will attend the meetings. At the moment it is not clear whether all eight City Council Members will be required to attend, or if that would violate the Open Sessions Act.
If a settlement is not reached before July, this case will drag on much longer than the scheduled trial, especially because the plaintiff and defendant agreed that all decisions made in July will be subject to appeal.