Deadlines extended in city lawsuit


A U.S. District Court magistrate judge amended the schedule for the ongoing legal battle between the City of Delaware and a central Ohio developer on Thursday after both parties asked for more time.

The lawsuit, which claims the city’s water fees are discriminatory, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio by Seattle House LLC in June 2020 after it purchased 24.2 acres on the city’s east side across from Glennwood Commons and developed 240 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the property. In the developer’s complaint, it states the company had to pay fees totaling $1,917,883 to tap into the city’s water and sewer lines. The developer states it contracted an independent third party to investigate the fees and claimed the developer should have paid only $693,881.

The developer’s lawsuit went on to claim the fees the city charges to tap into its water and sewer lines violate the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The lawsuit also alleges the fees are leading to an affordable housing crisis within the city, and the fees are a form of racial discrimination.

The City of Delaware has filed several responses to Seattle House’s complaint and has disputed the claims made in the case, adding the allegations are “baseless.”

The parties had several deadlines in December 2021, including completion of discovery related to class allegations, deadline to amend pleadings or join additional parties, as well as motions related to class certification. On Dec. 16, 2021, the parties jointly asked for the deadlines to be pushed into January, and Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura granted the motion.

However, on Wednesday, the parties jointly filed another motion asking the judge to extend the deadlines once again, this time into spring of this year.

“The Parties continue to work together cooperatively and diligently to conduct the necessary discovery,” the motion said. “To that end, the Parties continue to exchange a significant amount written discovery, documents, and electronic information. The Parties will need additional time to schedule and conduct depositions that are relevant to Plaintiff’s motion for class certification. The Parties have met and conferred and agree that the requested modification is necessary and appropriate to allow sufficient time to complete discovery.”

Vascura granted the motion on Thursday and moved the deadline for amended pleadings or the joining of additional parties, and the deadline for completion of discovery related to class allegations to April 8. The motion for class certification is now due on April 29, and the proposed date for determination on class certification was set for June 3.

There have been no filings in the case since the court dates were rescheduled.

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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