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Judge tosses airport suit

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The Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE - Ellis County Court-at-Law Judge Greg Wilhelm threw out a lawsuit filed against the cities of Midlothian and Waxahachie, as well as their shared airport, Mid-Way Regional.

Wilhelm noted a statute of limitations and rejected a restraining order request from local construction contractor Ken Halverson, who filed the original suit, also threw out the cities’ sovereign immunity claims.

An exception with the sovereign immunity laws in Texas allows public officials to be held liable for damages or possible illegal acts.

Wilhelm’s ruling left open the possibility Halverson could sue public officials individually in the future.

The cities of Midlothian and Waxahachie, who appoint a board of directors to oversee the airport on Highway 287, cheered the lawsuit’s dismissal.

Halverson did not say if he and his lawyer were going to file an appeal in the Waco-based Tenth Court of Appeals, which would be heard by a three-justice panel at the court that could overturn Wilhelm’s decision.

"Right now, I’m just astonished at this off- the- wall ruling," said Halverson.

Part of Wilhelm’s ruling was that both cities and the airport violated state law, specifically as it relates to the contracting provisions of awarding bids for work.

According to court documents, Wilhelm ruled the plantiffs’ are allowed to pursue an injunction, however, the ruling states " having standing to seek an injunction does not necessarily translate into an entitlement to an injunction."

Halverson’s original suit claimed both cities acted illegally when they awarded contracts in excess of $1 million to the Nay Company, a construction firm in Waxahachie. Nay Company built airport hangars that pilots, including Halverson, said later leaked when it rained as well as building drainage pipes and airport doors improperly.

Both cities, Wilhelm wrote in his opinions when dismissing the suit, "abused procedures prescribed by Texas statutes."


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