August 22, 2008
Scarbrough lawsuit against Metro dismissed

You wouldn't know it from reading the headline to this story about Metro CEO Frank Wilson, but that lawsuit filed by anti-rail activist Daphne Scarbrough to block construction of the Universities line on Richmond has been dismissed.

On Thursday, State District Judge Levi Benton ruled in favor of Metro, which argued that plaintiff Daphne Scarbrough, a Richmond resident and merchant, lacked legal standing to sue the agency.

Scarbrough's attorney Andy Taylor said he will appeal, but expects that may take months or years to resolve. If Metro begins construction on Richmond before then, he will seek an injunction to block it.

Not a whole lot of detail in that, unfortunately, and I can't find a copy of the decision online, so that and this Metro press release are all we've got. The latter does say "METRO is working to complete an environmental review on the University Line and expects to begin construction in mid-2009 and to begin operation in 2012", so that at least is news.

Beyond that, assuming someone is still picking up the tab for Andy Taylor's services, I do fuilly expect there will be an appeal and an attempt at an injunction circa mid-2009. Without seeing the decision and getting a feel for the matter of standing, which was the reason for the dismissal, I can't say how much better their chances will be at that time. But certainly they will have the potential to slow things down. I hope that doesn't happen, but I'm not counting on it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 22, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The documents can be found at the Harris County District Clerk e-Docs website. The case is cause number 2007-31651.

The order is a one-page order in which the Court concludes Ms. Scarbrough does not have standing "for all of the reasons set forth in Metro's legal briefing."

Metro's briefing asserted that merely being a voter and a taxpayer did not give her standing. She did not have standing as a property owner along the proposed route, because there was no plan to take her property and no indication of actual injury done to her yet. She had not standing to question the bus service because she is not a rider. And she is not a party to Metro's general mobility agreements, so she has no standing to contest those.

Posted by: Kenneth Fair on August 22, 2008 11:49 AM
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