By Martin Couch
In a jury trial, Bryant alderman Ed Collins successfully won a lawsuit he filed for a breach of contract by the City of Bryant.
Collins was awarded $70,000 by the judge. With seven of eight Councilmen present at Wednesday's Finance and Personnel meeting[more] at City Hall, the attorney, Keith Rand, who represented the case in court explained about why the suit was filed.
"I think everybody knows there were flooding issues in 2008 and Mr. Collins’ home flooded," Rand said. "As part of the emergency measures, a trench was dug through his yard so that his property wouldn't flood anymore and the trench was extended through his neighbor’s property, as well. In March of 2009, there were a number of projects being considered by the City Council for various permanent fixes for flooding issues. One of those was his property.
"Richard Penn obtained some bids and as part of that bid package, there was an easement document," he continued. "Richard went to Mr. Collins and had him sign the easement document. That way, to improve the project, all the paperwork would be in place. I don't think it was even considered and certainly wasn't approved by the Council, nonetheless Mr. Collins, because he had a signed document, was in a position where he signed this easement."
The construction project of culverts and drainage was set up to fix the property.
"And he said he had a contract with the city to have it done," Rand said. "It wasn't done, of course, and he filed the lawsuit that the city breached its contract."
Rand pointed out that there was the possibility of an appeal by the city.
The councilmen all put in their thoughts on the subject and made a motion to pass their decision to appeal and negotiate with Collins at the next City Council meeting.
"Our odds of prevailing on an appeal are vastly higher than the dispute over the facts," Rand said. "In my opinion, there is a substantial chance that this whole thing can get reversed on appeal."
The city has 10 days to appeal.