Arbitration Up Next for Highland Heights Gas Well Lawsuit
Hearing not expected anytime soon.
Now that Highland Heights city officials decided not to settle a lawsuit by allowing gas wells in the park, the court battle will resume.
Council President Cathy Murphy said the city and Bass Energy never had an arbitration hearing because the proposed lease for two gas wells in the park was an attempt to settle the lawsuit without the need for arbitration.
"We have not had any arbitration," she said. "Our attorney will notify the attorney for Bass Energy that we are not going with the settlement and we will proceed to arbitration."
Regardless of what happens in arbitration, there will not be any gas wells in the park, she added.
"The Bass lawsuit claim is for breach of contract," Murphy said. That means that while Bass Energy can try to prove damages, they would be receiving money from the city and not an agreement to drill gas wells.
Murphy said she's confident that the city has a good case in defending the $7 million lawsuit filed by Bass Energy.
"I think we can mitigate any potential damage claim they have," she said.
Amy Feran, spokeswoman for Love Our Green Space, was pleased that council voted down the proposed gas well lease, but said LOGS will continue to monitor the case.
"Now that they're going to arbitration, they have to really fight it," said Feran, who suggested the city hire a different attorney because John O'Neil conceded from the beginning that the original lease was valid, even though council never approved specific well sites.
During the gas well debate, LOGS members argued that the latest lease violated a 2008 charter amendment that prohibits lease of park land without voter approval.
Murphy said the charter amendment was a concern and she wasn't sure council had the authority to approve the lease that was proposed as a settlement to the lawsuit.