[dropcap]The[/dropcap] judge handling the appeal of the Clary Lake Water Level Order (AP-2014-01) has issued a Procedural Order based on the results of the Status Conference held back on June 7th. The Order is dated June 17, 2016 which was last Friday. The Order specifies a deadline of August 19th by which time the State should have filed the administrative record as well as their request for discovery. The real surprise in the Order is that contrary to what I had been told and contrary to what had I reported at the time (see: “Update on Superior Court Action“), the proceedings HAVE been Stayed, yet again, until August 1st. I had been assured by Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak when I spoke to him the day after the Status Conference that the suit had not been stayed so I expect the fact that it has now been stayed will come as much of a surprise to him as it did to me. No reason for the additional stay has been given.
I suppose in the overall scheme of things it probably doesn’t matter that the suit has been stayed again, but it does make one wonder to what use, if any, this additional stay period is being put by the Petitioners and their counsel. It was undoubtedly requested by them as the State has assured us that they do not want further delays. Back on June 1st when attorneys for the Petitioners failed to produce a plan to repair the dam and start raising the lake level (see: “June 1st Deadline Comes and Goes With Nothing to Show For It“), we speculated that the DEP was going to give them more time this summer to raise money for the repairs; after the June 7th Status Conference that appeared not to be the case but that may in fact be what is happening after all. That is all well and good, but the fact remains that 2 prime months of this summer season are passing with no apparent progress being made towards a solution of the crisis. We are disappointed, and sincerely hope that the Petitioners are making good use of this additional stay: the suit has been stayed pretty much continuously since the end of February (see 03 March 2016: “PretiFlaherty Files Motions for Stays of Suits“) with apparently nothing to show for it.
The Order itself is pretty short so I’ll excerpt the substantive part here:
By agreement of the parties, this matter is stayed until August 1, 2016.
By August 19, 2016, the Respondent shall serve on the Petitioner the administrative record; any discovery requests directed to the Petitioner; and an outline of a discovery plan including details about any discovery intended to be served on third parties. If Respondent has any objections to the proposed discovery that are not resolved through consultation, a conference with the court may be requested. Any such conference would be conducted in September 2016 and the court would resolve any discovery dispute and set a schedule for future proceedings.
Here’s the Order if you want to view or download it: