Author Topic: Paige has standing for what?  (Read 1108 times)

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Paige has standing for what?
« on: February 04, 2020, 07:42:37 PM »
So Paige the scarecrow Sawyer has sued the city because they awarded a contract to build the new city hall? He has no standing to sue for that. The city had Marty thrown out for standing on a suit years ago. Will the city blast the scarecrow like that? Will the useless Times report it?


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Re: Paige has standing for what?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2020, 10:54:34 AM »
Who is paying for the lawsuit? Paige is broke. Someone has to be fronting him. Could it be a certain county councilman who wants to be mayor?

Tom Rubillo

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Re: Paige has standing for what?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 06:31:39 PM »
The fight over standing -- a threshold question of whether the plaintiffs have a legal right to bring a lawsuit-- is a very important one that must be addressed.  The legal principles involve can get a little complicated and have quite a few twists and turns.  That threshold question could very well make its way all the way to the South Carolina Supreme Court. 

The reason the question of "standing" comes up in the first place is because the plaintiffs in the present lawsuit against the city have suffered no  unique "injury-in-fact" or harm that is personal to them.  They stand in the same shoes as any other taxpayer in the City of Georgetown.  To get around the usual "injury in fact" requirement, (and even while their complaint doesn't specifically say so), they necessarily must take the position that they know what's best for everybody else and, therefore are representing "the public interest."  That's a pretty high horse to ride.  Deciding whether they can ride that high horse or not is an important and quite basic question that could take a year or two or more to ultimately decide, requiring  a lot of legal research, writing, and arguing that uses up a lot of expensive lawyer time and cost an awful lot of taxpayer money in the process. 

Assuming, just for the sake of argument, that the state's highest appellate tribunal were to ultimately decide that the plaintiffs have standing to sue "in the public interest" (again, a highly questionable position at best), what happens next?  The case is returned to Circuit Court for trial.  Then the games begin anew.  In the interim, the process of building a new city hall would most likely come to a halt, either because the circuit court issues a temporary injunction or because uncertainty over what the future holds causes the city to hold things up. 

At this point, after a year or two of further delay for lot of expensive pretrial motions, demands to inspect documents, depositions of the plaintiffs and all the witnesses and the like (billed by lawyers for every sixth of an hour), the case would be set for trial.  That would use up a couple of days worth of expensive time.   At the conclusion of the trial it may well turn out -- in fact is most likely to turn out -- that there was nothing wrong with the bidding process in the first place because the evidence reveals that the city properly followed the procedure set out in state law and its own ordinances.  Put another way, the lawsuit proves to have been a big waste of time, energy, money and emotion.  If that's the case, the city could then move to recover all the money it paid out in costs and attorney fees based on the notion that the case was "frivolous" in the first place.  If the plaintiffs lose that post-trial battle, they would end up having to pay however much the court orders or go to jail for contempt of court if they didn't.  Risky business.  I wouldn't gamble like that.  I wouldn't urge a nagging and hostile mother-in-law to do so.   

But let's think this whole thing through a little further and somewhat differently.  Again, assuming for the sake of this discussion that the plaintiffs win, what happens?  The local contractor who the plaintiff favors doesn't automatically collect any alleged lost profits or get the job.  It hasn't sued. (A very important, interesting and, in many ways, revealing fact.)  Not being a party to the lawsuit the contractor is entitled to nothing from the court.  It can't hide behind straw men, or tin men or wannabe knights in shining armor and expect to get something.  The proper remedy in this sort of suit would be for the bidding process to start all over again with any perceived flaws from the first go round being corrected.   Back to square one.  If that happens there are no guarantees that the local contractor would get the job then either. Meanwhile, though, it would be highly improper for the court to, in essence, rig the bid in the local contractor's favor.  Instead, the proper remedy would require everyone interested in the job to submit a new bid.   More sour grapes? Another round in court?

Given all the hassle stirred up by the plaintiffs and their self-righteous stand "in the public interest" as defenders of taxpayer money, the irony here is that they well end up wasting a whole lot of taxpayer money.   These plaintiffs may think they are knights in shining armor,   They are certainly holding themselves out as that.  But they are really nothing more than self-appointed, self-righteous and quite sanctimonious in declaring themselves to be defenders of the local public treasury, all while allegedly acting "in the public interest."  Who asked them?  Why?  Who is financing them?  Why?  Interesting "political" questions, don't you think?. 

The bottom line here is that this lawsuit, to my way of thinking, is ridiculous at best or, perhaps, even "frivolous" as that expression is used in a more technical sense.  Meanwhile, it will almost certainly delay or even end efforts to build the new city hall any time in the foreseeable future.  The city council can always change its mind about what to do about replacing the old city hall..  Instead of rebuilding. council could decide to scrap the entire project and continue to rent space or, perhaps buy some other building and renovate.  Meanwhile lawyer fees run up and taxpayers foot a very big bill.  Who wins in all of that?  Certainly not the taxpayers.  The plaintiffs may think that they are knights in shining armor out fighting the good fight to save the taxpayers money.  The irony here is that they are going to cost the taxpayers a big pile of cash no matter how the case turns out.  In my book that ain't heroic.   In my view that's exactly the sort of outcome you'd expect when dealing with politically motivated good ole boys in sheep's clothing.  Think about it and decide for yourself.