U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan, III remanded a lawsuit filed by the West Rankin Utility Authority against Jackson back to Rankin County Circuit Court today. West Rankin sued Jackson in April for the return of funds it paid to Jackson for treatment of its wastewater. West Rankin claimed Jackson misspent the funds after it audited how the funds were spent. Jackson tried to remove the lawsuit to federal court.
Jackson argued the dispute was related to a federal consent decree between Jackson and the EPA over the treatment of Jackson's wastewater. Judge Jordan said nice try but no dice as he ruled the two parties were disputing a contract and the dispute had nothing to do with the consent decree. It must go back to state court since there was no federal dispute.
JJ reported in May:
West Rankin argues that the two parties agreed in 2002 that West Rankin would pay Jackson to treat its wastewater. However, West Rankin claims that it is not supposed to pay for
the city's years of sludge mismanagement which directly resulted from the city's failure to repair severe breaks, cracks, and holes in the City's wastewater collection system.West Rankin also argued that at times the influx of storm water casued the amount of wastewater and sludge "delivered to the Savanna Plant to
at times exceed 163 million gallons per day, which greatly exceeds the Plant's average daily treatment capacity which is 46 million gallons of wastewater per day.
West Rankin stated that the holding capacity of the storm cells at Savanna decreased by 70% because of sludge accumulation in the system and the city's failure to address these problems. It says the "continued mismanagement" was the subject of a consent decree between the city and EPA.
The complaint accuses the city of charging some of the costs to implement the consent decree against West Rankin. It argues that West Rankin is responsible for paying for the treatment of its wastewater, not paying for costs associated with Jackson's alleged negligence in maintaining its system.
West Rankin also asks the court to decree that Jackson can not recover any costs associated with the consent decree against West Rankin as its wastewater directly enters into the Savanna plant and avoids the storm cells. Earlier post with copy of complaint.
Here is the audit. Read the last comment in this post. Pretty interesting.