Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Buys Time in Sardis Lawsuit

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Buys Time in Sardis Lawsuit

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City officials have received more time to prepare their response to a federal lawsuit filed over the Sardis Lake Reservoir, court documents show.

In a Sept. 16 motion, Kenneth Jordan, an attorney for the city, said his office needed more time to analyze and respond to the allegations made in the lawsuit that was filed Aug. 18.

"Due to the complexity of the complaint, defendants are requesting additional time, up to Oct. 17," the motion said.

For almost a year, Oklahoma City has used the Denver law firm of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite to help with the legal battle over the Sardis Reservoir. In a Dec. 7, 2010, memo to trust members, Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust General Manager Marsha Slaughter recommended hiring the firm. Slaughter said the city needed the firm's help because of its expertise with a particular area of law.

"From time to time, it is necessary to supplement the city attorney's excellent legal services with attorneys specializing in a particular area of law," she told The Journal Record in September.

Slaughter said the city has, so far, paid about $58,000 in legal fees to the Denver-based firm.

In his Sept. 15 motion, Jordan told the court his office had spoken with Michael Burrage, the attorney for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and Burrage had agreed with the request for a delay.

"There has been no trial setting and there are no other pending deadlines, so there would be no impact to the parties if this motion is granted," Jordan wrote.

Federal Judge Lee R. West granted the city's motion the same day it was filed.

"The court directs these defendants to answer or otherwise respond to the allegations in the plaintiffs' complaint on or before Oct. 17," West said.

The lawsuit came just a little more than a year after the city of Oklahoma City paid about $27 million for the water storage rights of the Sardis Lake Reservoir. …

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