U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak recently gave the city of Denison more time to file its first amended answer in the fight to see what happens to the Central Ward School property.
The move comes after Nowak allowed Jaime Roa, who owns the property, one last shot to include every allegation he wanted to make against the city and a laundry list of others, in his attempt to keep the building from being torn down.
For the past several years, Denison and Roa have been locked in a legal battle in state and federal courts as the city attempted to spend $115,000 to demolish the Central Ward building and Roa attempted to save it. Roa purchased the property at 715 W. Sears in 2012 and says the city’s attempts to take down what it calls an unsafe building is a violation of his federal rights to due process and the Older American Act Reauthorization, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In April, Nowak denied a motion by the city of Denison to dismiss the case between city and Roa, to allow Roa additional time to amend his complaint in the case. Roa filed the amended complaint on April 28.
Nowak ruled that the city of Denison and defendants Jared Johnson, Jud Rex, Gabe Reaume, Philip Shaffer, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Betty Ford have until June 5 to file the amended answer and until June 19 to file the motion to dismiss.
“In light of the Defendants’ immunity claims, the Court finds that defendants demonstrate good cause for the Court to delay entry of any discovery deadlines and stay all discovery against Defendants until such time as the Court rules on the immunity issues,” Nowak wrote.
In addition to those listed above, Roa also added Matt Hanley, Bill Malvern, Ken Brawley, Michael Baecht, Janet Gott, Britton Brooks, Tom Speakman, Robert Hannah, Dale Jackson, Gordon Weger, Bill Ray, Jonathan Cannon, Michael Hutchins, Donna Hunt and Jim Fallon to the defendants in the case.
Cannon, the Herald Democrat’s executive editor, said the paper does not comment on ongoing litigation. Due to Roa’s inclusion of Hutchins as a party in the case, the paper has reassigned the case to the paper’s criminal justice editor.
Roa did not return calls from the Herald Democrat seeking comment.