North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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November 26, 2013

Judge denies motion to reconsider in Home Field Sports Grill's case against Fultondale

FULTONDALE — The city of Fultondale has won another round in its legal battle with John Douglas, owner of the tornado-damaged Home Field Sports Grill.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Tom King denied a motion to reconsider his previous summary-judgement ruling against Douglas and CNL Properties, which had sued to force the city to allow what’s left of the bar and restaurant to be rebuilt, instead of being torn down and built to current building codes.

In the ruling filed on Tuesday, King cited five reasons for denial of the motion:

  • The motion seeks to enter evidence into trial belatedly, after the original proceeding
  • The court acted properly in taxing the plaintiffs for court costs incurred by the city
  • There are no material facts in the case that are in dispute, and only a few of those facts were used to grant the original summary judgment
  • The granting of summary judgment doesn’t keep Douglas from seeking zoning, parking or other variances from the city
  • The plaintiffs did not assert claims of regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

King had earlier ordered Douglas and CNL to pay $19,256.12 to the city for costs incurred.

Douglas said Tuesday afternoon that he would have no comment on the ruling until he consults with his attorneys next week.

The ruling is the latest step in Douglas’ long-running fight with the city and Mayor Jim Lowery, whom he ran against in the most recent municipal election. Home Field was heavily damaged by the 2012 tornado outbreak that hit Fultondale. City inspectors deemed that the building has damaged more than 50 percent, and would have to be rebuilt according to current codes. Douglas contended that the damage was less than 50 percent, so the property would still be grandfathered as a non-conforming building, since it was built before the city had building codes in place.

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