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Protect wins motion to appeal discovery ruling
May 20, 2013 - Jessica Collier
Supreme court judges ruled in favor of Protect and the Sierra Club in their appeal of the ruling that denied them the right to perform wide-ranging discovery. They also ruled that the appeal would be consolidated with the rest of the proceedings and against a motion by the developers that would have curtailed the time Protect and the Sierra Club had to file some paperwork.
I'll have a full story for tomorrow's paper, but here's a copy of the decisions:
And here's the press release from Protect:
PROTECT & Sierra Club win two motions in lawsuit challenging Adirondack Park Agency’s approval of 6,000-acre Adirondack Club & Resort development
Court approves PROTECT-Sierra Club motion to appeal denial of motion for discovery to investigate improper ex parte communications
Albany – On May 16, 2013, the Appellate Division, Third Department, issued two Decisions and Orders in the lawsuit by Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter that challenges the approval by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) of the 6,000-acre Adirondack Club & Resort project. Both decisions were victories for PROTECT and the Sierra Club. First, the court ruled to allow an appeal to go forward by PROTECT- Sierra Club, who seek a reversal of the denial of their earlier motion for discovery. Second, the court denied a motion by the Adirondack Club & Resort’s attorneys to curtail PROTECT- Sierra Club’s time to complete the filing of their brief and the record.
PROTECT and the Sierra Club’s appeal of the denial of discovery was consolidated with the main case into a single proceeding. PROTECT and the Sierra Club anticipate that the court case will be completed by around the end of 2013.
In March, State Supreme Court in Albany denied the PROTECT-Sierra Club motion for discovery to investigate allegations of illegal ex parte communications between the leaders of the APA, the ACR developers, and other state officials. In April, the lawsuit was transferred from the trial court back to the Appellate Division. PROTECT and the Sierra Club made a motion seeking permission from the Appellate Division to appeal the denial of their motion for discovery. At this same time, the developers made a motion to curtail PROTECT- Sierra Club’s time to complete the filing of their brief and the record in the main case. On May 16, 2013 the court ruled for PROTECT and Sierra Club on both matters. See decisions and orders attached.
“These two victories are important. We believe that there were significant improper ex parte communications between the leaders of the APA, the ACR developers, and other state officials. It’s critical to this lawsuit, and to protecting the integrity of the APA’s decision-making process, that we be given the opportunity to further investigate this matter,” said John Caffry, attorney for PROTECT and the Sierra Club.
“It’s important for the public that we be given the opportunity to investigate the ex parte issue. So far state agencies have stonewalled attempts to get information and withheld a variety of documents,” said Roger Downs, Director or the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. John Caffry added that “the State has never denied that communications outside of the official hearing record occurred between Albany and the APA. It has so far avoided releasing the documents that we seek only by claiming that they are privileged.”
“PROTECT remains confident in the overall quality of this lawsuit. The denial of our discovery motion in March was a setback, as was the APA’s partial denial of our FOIL requests last summer. We will continue to pursue these items as the main suit moves towards conclusion. We anticipate final briefs and oral argument by the fall, with a decision likely around the end of the year,” said Peter Bauer, PROTECT Executive Director.
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