Seek Fees for Taxpayers’ Benefit - The Missourian: Opinion

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Seek Fees for Taxpayers’ Benefit

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Posted: Saturday, June 21, 2014 6:00 pm

Franklin County has spent time and money on a lawsuit to defend the establishment of its municipal court under state law. The county has a responsibility to seek attorney fees if an appeal is filed. The lawsuit is deemed frivolous by county officials and others.

A circuit judge recently ruled in favor of Franklin County in the lawsuit that alleged that the municipal court was created under a Missouri law that is unconstitutional. A judge denied that contention. If an appeal is filed by the two citizens who represented themselves in the suit, the county has indicated it will seek reimbursement of its attorney fees. There certainly is justification to do so; in fact, as stewards of taxpayer funds, it is more of an obligation than just an option.

To date this lawsuit has not cost the county any additional legal fees because it has been handled by a law firm retained by the county as assistant county counsel. The Union law firm is paid $5,500 a month to serve in that capacity.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have not announced as to whether they plan to file an appeal.

The plaintiffs in their lawsuit argued that the House bill contained two subject matters — juvenile courts and county municipal court — and therefore was unconstitutional. The judge ruled that there was no violation of the Constitution since the overall purpose of the bill dealt with the same issue — courts.

The county municipal court handles minor violations of the law.

/opinion

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