One Paw Paw case on hold while another is decided
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Federal court proceedings have been put on hold in one of two cases involving Warren County and two landowning groups, lead counsel for the county said late Tuesday.
Filed in 2007, the suit by Issaquena Warren Counties Land Company alleges county officials intervened in a private land dispute to favor another landowning firm, Paw Paw Island Land Company. The county’s position has been that it was merely trying to enforce ordinances on subdivision development and floodplain management as it would on any tract.
U.S. District Judge David Bramlette signed an order halting all arguments until a separate case under appeal from Warren County Chancery Court is resolved, attorney Ken Rector said. The move had been expected, as a pretrial conference already had been set for Jan. 14, 2010.
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A ruling in September 2008 from Vicksburg-based Chancellor Vicki Roach Barnes said three-fourths of Paw Paw Road, a gravel path off Mississippi 465 leading to acreage owned by the groups, is private, including the part beyond a locked gate at the tree line.
PPILC had originally sued IWCLC in 2003 over access to the property. Subsequent suits had the county pursuing ways to enforce ordinances in the area, used mainly for hunting. Owners of IWCLC claim in the federal case the county’s actions amount to violations under the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act. Each of six counts of the federal case seeks $1 million in damages.
Supervisors were represented at the time by Paul Winfield, then-board attorney and now Vicksburg mayor. Winfield remains a defendant in the case along with all five supervisors from the 2004-2008 term.
Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org