Court stamps out long-running landfill lawsuit

Legal News Line Dec. 29, 2006, 6:50am

Texas Supreme Court

AUSTIN -- Today's Supreme Court decision in an acrimonious dispute between a landfill operator and a Texas county appears finally to have ended a 13-year legal saga. The high court affirmed an earlier Appeals Court decision that barred a claim by Hallco Texas, Inc. that McMullen County had unconstitutionally "taken property" by issuing an order in 1993 forcing the company to remove a recently-developed landfill because of its proximity to a municipal reservoir. Hallco first filed the lawsuit at issue before the court in 1999 after losing a previous decision against the county two years earlier. The Supreme Court cited the fact that Hallco did not appeal the first decision but instead brought a second action. In a tone of some annoyance, Justice Harriet O'Neill wrote, "Claimants cannot opt for an indefinite limitations period or a series of suits whenever they would prefer." The original decision also ruled against Hallco, with the Court of Appeals stating that Hallco's "takings" claim must fail because the company "did not have a cognizable property interest of which the government could deprive [it]."

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