Tuesday, April 24, 2018
News Roundup

As discussions continue in Pier lawsuit, both sides want a judge to rule

ST. PETERSBURG — Attempts to reach a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the city concerning plans to build a new $50 million Pier continue, but just in case, both sides have reserved time before a judge to decide the matter.

A hearing for summary judgment could be heard on March 27, at which time a judge could rule for either side or send the case to trial.

"It's something that could end the matter," Joseph Patner, head of litigation for the city, said of the latest development Friday.

He emphasized that an impasse had not been declared in the court-ordered mediation.

"Discussions are still continuing," he said.

The lawsuit filed by former City Council member Kathleen Ford and five other St. Petersburg residents seeks to force the city to hold a referendum to amend its charter to save St. Petersburg's 1973 Pier.

It also asks for a temporary injunction to halt demolition of the Pier pending the court's ruling and outcome of a vote.

Ford could not be reached Friday for comment.

In December, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Amy Williams ordered the two sides to early mediation.

Ford filed the suit last August, after City Council members voted against putting a Pier question on the ballot, despite over 15,000 petitioners seeking such a vote.

Ford initially filed the suit on behalf of herself and all 15,652 petitioners, but many balked at being a party to legal action.

She later refiled an amended complaint with a drastically reduced group as plaintiffs.

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