City seeks to recover legal fees from NAF

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com
The city of Elizabethton filed a motion Wednesday in Carter County Chancery Court against North American Fibers to collect legal fees incurred from the lawsuit and trial involving the city and the company.
The motion seeks to recover legal costs incurred by the city's attorney Roger Day during the legal action against NAF. The motion states the city incurred discretionary costs for the services of court reporters, an expert witness, a process server, and other expenses totaling $9,805.98.
Itemized costs listed include approximately $2,490 in fees for the court reporting services of B.J. Woody and Gibson Court Reporting to take depositions from Feb. 2, 2001 throughout the three-day trial that ended Dec. 18, 2002. The city spent just over $6,700 to call engineering expert Joseph R. Wauford, III, to testify at the trial. Wauford is the senior vice president of J. R. Wauford and Company -- an engineering consulting firm that works with waterworks, sewage, municipal, industrial and civil engineering.
In a judgment issued June 24, Chancellor Richard Johnson ordered NAF to pay the city of Elizabethton more than $3.4 million for effectively blocking the city's access to a main sewer line. The city filed the lawsuit against Green, individually, and several companies, in August 2000, alleging the fly-ash landfill located on NAF property was blocking one of the city's main sewer lines. The suit went to trial in December with three days of testimony and argument heard by Johnson.
An attorney for NAF filed a motion Tuesday to have Johnson's judgment amended, the monetary judgment vacated and several findings of fact stated in Johnson's opinion stricken. The court's award of $3.4 million to the city is the sum of all payments made by the city between 2013 and 2031 if the bonds were not recalled or refinanced. The motion argues the judgment requires NAF to pay the city principle plus interest for the next 29 years while alleging the city is not required to make payments on those bonds until June 1, 2013.