UPDATE TO JONES CREEK / WILLOW LAKE LITIGATION.
To: Jones Creek Members and Homeowners
From: Jones Creek Golf Club
Date: April 12, 2018
Re: Jones Creek Willow Lake Litigation
Over the past week, information has been disseminated through the media that mischaracterizes the status of the Willow Lake litigation. This memo is provided to make sure Jones Creek members and homeowners receive accurate information and to provide a more complete statement on the current posture of the litigation that remains pending.
Three years ago, the federal court ruled in favor of Columbia County and CSX Transportation with respect to the Clean Water Act claims only. At that time, the federal court did not rule on the state law claims that were included in the federal lawsuit. Later, we asked the federal court to allow us to withdraw those remaining state law claims, so they could be refiled in the Superior Court of Columbia County. However, the federal court denied our request.
Due to the lack of relief we received in federal court, as well as the continuing, ongoing damages caused by the repeated flooding of Willow Lake, we then initiated a separate case in the Superior Court of Columbia County while certain state law claims remained pending in federal court. Columbia County later asked the federal court to rule in its favor on the state law claims, but the federal court denied Columbia County’s motion on July 19, 2017.
After that denial of Columbia County’s motion, the case was set for trial in federal court for April 10, 2018. Then, ten days before the scheduled trial, and after two years of waiting, the judge suddenly changed her mind and allowed Jones Creek’s earlier request to withdraw the state law claims from the federal court action. As a part of that recent order, Jones Creek specifically retained the right to refile those state law claims in the Superior Court of Columbia County.
So, despite news reports to the contrary, the Jones Creek litigation against Columbia County is not over. We just recently received exactly what we requested two years ago, that being the right to litigate all state law claims in one forum, the Superior Court of Columbia County, not federal court. We are currently evaluating which, if any, of the state law claims that were a part of the federal court case should now be refiled and consolidated with the existing superior court case. We strongly believe we are finally moving in a positive direction to resolve the case with its complex issues, for the benefit of the members and homeowners of Jones Creek and the citizens of Columbia County.
A members and homeowners meeting will be held at the Jones Creek Clubhouse on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 6:30 pm to discuss this matter further and answer questions. The meeting is open to Jones Creek members and residents and any interested citizens of Columbia County.
For immediate questions regarding this matter, please contact Ray Mundy at (706) 294-8232.