Water lawsuit mediation started

Dec. 26, 2013 @ 09:14 PM

The civil complaint filed by the City of Oxford in August has not been resolved but the lawyer representing defendants Henderson and Granville County said discussions between both parties in mediation will continue with hopes of reaching an agreement.

“I think it is fair to say the parties had productive discussions, but there was no agreement,” said Jim Wrenn Jr. “We anticipate further discussions at some point but we don’t have certain times set. We will continue to discuss the matter and hope it will end in a positive resolution.”

The parties conducted a session of a mediated settlement conference the Friday before Christmas.

Wrenn said their mediator, Marshall Gallop, did not report an impasse to the court. An impasse indicates that mediation is unsuccessful.

“All parties to the lawsuit were in attendance and participated,” Oxford’s lawyer, Gavin Parsons, wrote in an email. “We recessed the session at the end of the day on the 20th. The parties are continuing their discussions.”

He wrote that he could not comment further since the content of the parties’ communications during mediation are confidential.

Warren County, also named in the suit, is represented by Christopher J. Derrenbacher.

According to state law and N.C. Supreme Court’s Rules Implementing Mediated Settlement Conferences, mediated settlement is mandatory for civil actions pending in Superior Court.

If cases do not settle in mediation, the mediator will report an impasse to the court and the matter will continue to trial.

The lawsuit filed by Oxford alleges that the city should control and profit from water taps in Granville County, which purchased 1.5 million gallons of water per day from Henderson for $9 million.

The 2011 deal was intended to provide water to the future tenants of Triangle North Granville, which is located off Interstate 85 at exit 206.

The fourth amendment to the 1973 Kerr Lake Regional Water System Agreement, between Oxford, Henderson and Warren County, grants the plaintiff a right to control the taps and collect revenues from Granville customers.

But the fourth amendment also states that this right is not effective until Henderson determines that the regional water system has sufficient funds to pay for moving the Oxford meter within county lines.

The defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint cites the water agreement between Henderson and Granville that specifies the point of sale for water in Vance County.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.