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October 12, 2012

City Council to receive update on L-3 negotiations

GREENVILLE — Almost lost during all the flurry of recent activity concerning the budget and competing water parks is the fact that L-3 and the City of Greenville are still involved in litigation.

The subject is scheduled to be addressed again next week, when the City Council meets in a special called session at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building. There is only one item on the agenda, an executive session under Section 551.071 (1) - L-3 Communications vs. City of Greenville Lawsuit and Settlement.

The section allows for “Attorney consultation regarding pending or contemplated litigation, settlement offers, or matters deemed subject to the Code of Professional Responsibility of the State Bar of Texas.”

“We’re bringing the Council up to date,” said Mayor Steve Reid, concerning the status of negotiations involving the settlement of the remaining suit filed by the company against the city. “We’re really close and I feel we need to discuss all our options.”

Reid said he does not anticipate any action being taken during Tuesday’s meeting.

The Council voted unanimously July 31 to propose a settlement agreement with L-3 Communications, in an effort to conclude the legal dispute between the two sides.

The Council also voted 4-3 that day to pass an ordinance approving the release to L-3 Communications of all documentation requested by the company under the Public Information Act. The second item called for a vote on approving a proposed settlement agreement to be offered to L-3 Communications concerning the two pending lawsuits the company has filed against the city over the proposed replat of Majors Field airport.

Under the agreement, the city and L-3 would enter into a separate agreement to resolve all existing claims between the two sides, after which L-3 would dismiss the pending lawsuits. The city would take no future action to subdivide the airport property without consulting with and obtaining the written approval of L-3.

The city also agreed that as long as L-3 operates the airport property, the city shall abide by the 1947 Surplus Property Act, the subject of the federal lawsuit filed by the company against the city and that the city would take no action to seek reconsideration of the airport’s property tax exemption.

Last month, United States District Judge Jorge A. Solis dismissed the federal lawsuit had filed against the city with prejudice, meaning that the company is barred from bringing a new case on the same basis. Solis  also said in his ruling that L-3 did not appear to be acting in good faith in bringing the litigation against the city.

The original suit L-3 filed in January 2011 against the city in the 354th District Court, which sought a temporary injunction based on a proposed replat of Majors Field Municipal Airport, remains pending an interlocutory appeal ruling from the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas.

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