Oral arguments set in City case against builders

heloteslogoThe first case decided against the City of Helotes was Continental Homes v. City of Helotes. The lower court (State District Court San Antonio) ruled against the City of Helotes.

According to the judgment the City of Helotes was ordered to repay $224, 282.44 in building permit fees collected by the City of Helotes from builders inside the ETJ of Helotes. The building permit fees earned a prejudgment interest of 5 percent from June 17, 2014 until September 25, 2014. This interest cost the City of Helotes roughly $1,200 a month.

The lower court also awarded attorney fees in the amount of $48, 456.00 and $2,107.92 in litigation expenses. All dollar amounts earn a post judgment interest in the amount of 5 percent.

Additionally, if the City of Helotes appealed the case to the 4th Court of Appeals and is not the prevailing party an additional $20,000 is due on the date of the Appeals Court decision.

The City of Helotes has appealed Continental Homes and it is now set for oral arguments on April 20 at 9am. The three-judge panel will consist of Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice Rebeca C. Martinez, and Justice Jason Pulliam.

The City Attorneys and Mayor Schoolcraft informed City Council they should expect to loose at the lower court but should prevail at the Appellate Court level.

However, the Town of Lakewood Village prevailed against an individual building in Lakewood Village’s ETJ at the district court and when the case was appealed the Fort Worth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court ruling.

The Town of Lakewood Village is scheduled for oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Texas on March 8 at 9am. Justice Johnson will not be sitting in for the arguments.

Both the City of Helotes and attorneys for Continental Homes have filed Amicus Curiae briefs in the Town of Lakewood Village case.

If the City of Helotes is unsuccessful at the Appeals Court the total for Continental Homes litigation will total $332,448.14. Interest will continue to accrue for each day the judgment remains unpaid.

If the City of Helotes elects to appeal to the Supreme Court and is unsuccessful in the arguments there they will owe an additional $50,000 in legal fees for the Continental Homes case.

The Appeals Court may rule in favor of Helotes overturning the decision of the lower court wiping out the judgment, or it may uphold in part and over turn in part the lower court ruling, or it may uphold the lower courts decision.

Even if the Supreme Court of Texas should rule in favor of the Town of Lakewood Village it is no guarantee that the City of Helotes will be successful in the appeal of their case.

The City of Helotes also lost the case brought by the Texas Association of Builders and the Greater San Antonio Builders Association.

The lower court did not require the repayment of building permit fees charged in the ETJ; however it awarded $96,494 in attorney fees.   Also the court awarded an additional $5,000 and $4,714.66 in fees and litigation expense. This case does not have a provision for post judgment interest. However, if the City of Helotes appeals the case to the 4th Court of Appeals and should not prevail the courts awarded an additional $75,000 in attorney fees.

The City of Helotes has filed the appeal with the Fourth Court of Appeals and the Court is waiting for the brief from the Appellee.

The City of Helotes lost a third case against Weekley Homes and others. At this time there has been no appeal filed in that case. According to the lower court final judgment the City owes $625,485. This judgment also carries a post judgment interest of 5 percent from September 23, 2015 until the judgment is paid. This amounts to about $2,000 a month each month the judgment is active.

Estimated total for the City litigation is $1, 054, 141.80 growing each day. The City of Helotes has also spent over $200,000 in legal fees for the City of Helotes attorneys.

The Echo will be attending the oral arguments of Town of Lakewood Village and Continental Homes v City of Helotes.

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