NEW PHILADELPHIA – Lawyers for the city of Dover and Dover Chemical were in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Monday for a summary judgement hearing.
They were trying to convince Judge Elizabeth Thomakos to side with their client in the three-year-old, $1.1 million legal battle.
Dover Chemical fired first, suing the city in 2021 over a punitive surcharge added to the company’s electric bill. Dover shot back in 2022, countersuing and claiming a civil conspiracy involving the city’s former mayor Richard Homrighausen.
Lawyers have made most of their arguments in hundreds of pages of court briefings.
Monday, city attorney Dolores Garcia said Dover Chemical is misinterpreting the law as it tries to block Dover from collecting on the surcharge.
“In September 2019, the city council discovered that DCC had a longstanding practice of accepting and not paying for city-provided equipment service and maintenance,” she said.
Dover Chemical attorney Timothy Rudd denied Dover’s allegations. He says the statute of limitations has expired on decades-old claims.
“The conspiracy alleged is absolutely devoid of any evidentiary support,” he said.
Thomakos could rule on the parties’ motions for judgment in their favor. Otherwise, the case will move onto a May 7th bench trial.
Judge questions why DCC should be punished
Thomakos Monday asked why Dover Chemical should be blamed for the city’s allegations.
“If the city acted improperly, how do we penalize the recipient?” she said.
Garcia argued the company has an obligation to make sure everything is legal, and the actions of the former mayor should have made alarm bells go off.
Rudd pointed out that Hormighausen is not a party in the lawsuit. He said “there is not a shred of evidence” in the record of a conspiracy.