MONROE, La. (KNOE) - UPDATE: Thurs 11:30 AM, Dec 07, 2017
Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
Testimony wraps up in day four of Sterlington's courtroom battle over water lines with Greater Ouachita Water Company.
Judge Alvin Sharp hasn’t yet ruled on a dismissal motion made by GOWC because he says he didn’t get a chance to read it last night. Judge Sharp decided to hear testimony while reading over dismissal file.
The court recessed at 11:30 am for an hour-long lunch break.
UPDATE: Wed 3:00 PM, Dec 06, 2017
Testimony is nearing an end, after several hours of arguments over water utility lines Sterlington seeks to force Greater Ouachita Water Company to sell. Judge Alvin Sharp heard arguments for several hours Wednesday morning and through the afternoon until the court recessed for an hour around 2:30 PM.
Both Greater Ouachita Water Co. and Sterlington lawyers questioned witnesses in an attempt to sway Judge Sharp's opinion on whether Sterlington can effectively run its own water system. Greater Ouachita's position is that Sterlington doesn't have the money or other resources to buy, operate and maintain a water system.
It the town wins, Sterlington might have to construct and run its own water treatment plant, which they argue they are capable of doing.
Wednesday's proceedings are expected to go on until at least 5:00 PM. Judge Sharp's decision could come Thursday.
UPDATE: Wed 9:45 AM, Dec 06, 2017
The town of Sterlington broke through a major legal obstacle in their courtroom showdown over water lines with Greater Ouachita Water Company (GOWC). A battle that could impact the future of Sterlington entered its third day at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse on Wednesday morning.
The major development is that Judge Alvin Sharp overruled Greater Ouachita's argument that the town of Sterlington's lawsuit is premature. Lawyers for GOWC said the lawsuit was filed before town representatives had taken the necessary steps to operate and maintain the water lines. They questioned whether Sterlington had the money to even buy the lines and construct a water treatment facility.
The trial has moved onto the next part: the necessity of the lawsuit.
UPDATE: 12/5/17 7:00pm
On Tuesday, the trial between Greater Ouachita Water Company and the town of Sterlington continued into day two, as the two sides presented their arguments to the judge about whether or not GOWC's water lines should be given to Sterlington.
Five witnesses took the stand on Tuesday - Sterlington town engineer Chris Patrick, GOWC engineer Charles Taylor, GOWC Chief Operating Officer Philip McQueen, Sterlington Town Councilman Cesar Velasquez and Sterlington Municipal Adviser Aaron Fletcher.
Each person gave their testimony on the legal dispute, helping the judge come to the decision about whether or not Sterlington is financially capable of buying the lines from GOWC and constructing their own water treatment facility.
Judge Alvin Sharp is expected to make a decision Wednesday morning on the "exemption of pre-maturity" facet of this trial. In other words, Sharp will decide whether Sterlington's expropriation lawsuit is premature.
ORIGINAL STORY: 12/4/17 1:08pm
On Monday, the trial between Greater Ouachita Water Company and the town of Sterlington continued, as Sterlington continues to fight for their own water system.
Multiple witnesses were subpoenaed and expected to take the stand Monday. But, only one person testified - John Gallagher, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association.
After Gallagher's testimony, court was adjourned until 9 am Tuesday morning. The short day was due to the fact that Greater Ouachita's lead witness, and someone their judicial argument was centered on, was unable to make court due to a family emergency.
Back in July, Judge Alvin Sharp dismissed the lawsuit, saying Sterlington Mayor Vern Breland filed it prematurely. Breland filed the first lawsuit back in March without written approval from the town council.
After the judge's decision, the board of aldermen filed a new expropriation lawsuit against the company.