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Jury rules in favor of city

Thursday, August 26, 2010

(Photo)
Bob Pell
A six-person jury returned a verdict in favor of the City of Brazil Wednesday in a civil plenary case regarding the demolition of a Brazil home in 2005.

In May 2006, Garlen Jones filed the lawsuit in Clay Superior Court claiming the city had not provided sufficient notice of the demolition, which allegedly led to the destruction of multiple items of value within the home, which was located at 911 S. Franklin St.

"The house had sat empty for quite a while," Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw said.

Included in the discovery portion of the case were three pages of items Jones claimed were in the home during the demolition, including two airplanes valued at more than $53,000.

According to documents on file at the Clay County Courthouse, Jones was attempting to reclaim damages for both the home itself, and the contents, which were to be based on fair market value at the time of the demolition.

"Neither the inspector or the demolition contractor, Jerry Evans, found any of the 'valuables' Jones alleged was in the structure," City Attorney Bob Pell told The Brazil Times Thursday.

At the time of the demolition, Jones was living in Fillmore and claimed the city had the ability to contact him, based on an ordinance violation notice sent to him in 2003.

After numerous publications regarding other ordinance violations pertaining to weeds and other waste, the Board of Public Works and Safety conducted an Unsafe Building Hearing and approved the demolition on Aug. 25, 2005.

On March 31, 2009, city representatives, Jones and their respective counsel met with court-appointed mediator James O. Henner in an attempt to come to a resolution.

In Henner's report on the mediation, the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, despite meeting in good faith, and the matter was later set for a jury trial.

"We made an offer to resolve the matter, but it was not accepted," Pell said.

The trial began Monday with Craig M. McKee and Pell representing the city and James Ensley representing Jones.

Both sides completed their respective arguments Tuesday, and after closing arguments Wednesday, the jury came back with a verdict for the city, awarding Jones no reclamation or compensation on the items lost.

"McKee has a wealth of experience in civil defense cases, and he did a great job working with us," Pell said. "We are happy the jury returned a verdict in our favor."


Comments
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Pretty sure I wouldn't leave $53,000 worth of personal goods in a house that I am leaving set empty. But, that's just me.

-- Posted by brazilian on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 11:01 PM

I have a good idea lets just leave everybodys thing alone and then we won't have a problem

-- Posted by Thorn44 on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 2:21 AM

I have a great idea why don't people pick up after themselves, cut their grass & stop whining about a house that apparently was bad enough to demolish. How many notices do you need to say get your stuff we are going to demolish your house soon.

-- Posted by LifetimeBrazilian on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 7:50 AM

When I lived in town, the house next to mine was a rental owned by a man who owns a LOT of rentals in that area. The rental sat empty for several years after prior tenants trashed the place and, when the grass got 2-3' high, he'd bring a bush hog over and cut the grass. Bush hogs are NOT for mowing grass on a lot in town. The yard looked like crap all the time.

I ended up moving after the value of my home (to sell it outright) deteriorated due to the lack of upkeep in my neighborhood. Of course, my property taxes increased. Figure that one out.

I say, "tough crap" to Mr. Jones. We have enough eyesore properties in Brazil. I agree with BRAZILIAN, who leaves $53,000 worth of anything inside a vacant house if they live in Fillmore?

-- Posted by Emmes on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 9:46 AM

Every city worth living in has ordinances; weeds, trash, parking, pets, etc. I applaud Brazil on taking the initiative to demolish an unoccupied eyesore with an absentee owner. $53k of assets? C'mon! I hope they charged him for the demolition plus legal fees.

People who want to live with less ordinances and let their property go to seed need to find a place in an unincorporated portion of the county. Preferably not my county.

-- Posted by Capt Brent on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 12:06 PM

Sad part is, it looks like Brazil is full of people like this...

-- Posted by no1special on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 6:46 PM

Im so sorry Mr. Jones did not win his lawsuit. I don't care what all the do gooders on here have to say. It's just another intrusion by government. They have absolutely no right to daemolish anyones property, I don't care what kind of shape it's in. He pays his taxes just like everyone else does. Hay i have a great idea let all mind are own dam business and live and let live

-- Posted by Thorn44 on Fri, Sep 3, 2010, at 6:23 AM

what about safety issues, rats, and other animals living there. that house was empty and an eyesore to the neighborhood. he had many years to get his antiques? out.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Sat, Sep 25, 2010, at 10:12 PM


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