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Double Springs Utility District of Putnam County v. Town of Baxter

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division

September 25, 2017

DOUBLE SPRINGS UTILITY DISTRICT OF PUTNAM COUNTY, TENNESSEE, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
TOWN OF BAXTER, TENNESSEE, Defendant/Counterclaimant.

          Michael J. Wall Benjamin A. Gastel BRANSTETTER, STRANCH & JENNINGS, PLLC Attorneys for Double Springs Utility District of Putnam County, Tennessee

          Daniel H. Rader, III Daniel H. Rader, IV MOORE, RADER, FITZPATRICK AND YORK, P.C. Attorneys for Town of Baxter, Tennessee

          Newbern, Magistrate Judge.

          CONSENT DECREE

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         1. The Plaintiff, Double Springs Utility District of Putnam County, Tennessee (“the District”), filed its Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) in this action on January 20, 2017. The District alleges that it has the exclusive right under 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b) to provide water service to a parcel of land designated as Map 37, Parcel 70, located at the intersection of Highway 70N and Highway 56, with the address of 6333 Nashville Hwy, Baxter, TN 38544 (“the Property”). The District further asserts that the Defendant, Town of Baxter, Tennessee (“Baxter”), proposed to provide water service to the Property in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Baxter filed its Counterclaim (Dkt. No. 9) on February 21, 2017. Baxter alleges that it has the exclusive right under 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b) and Tennessee law, such as Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 6-51-101, et seq. and 7-82-301(a)(1)(B), to provide water service to the Property.

         2. The Mayor of Baxter and the President of the District's Board of Commissioners signed a “Settlement Agreement, ” attached hereto as Exhibit A, on May 1, 2017, and May 8, 2017, respectively. The District asserts that the Settlement Agreement is a valid and binding agreement that resolves this action. However, Baxter asserts that its Board of Mayor and Aldermen did not approve the Settlement Agreement so as to make it a valid and binding agreement. Baxter has asked for certain changes to the Settlement Agreement. Solely to avoid further delay and expense, the District has agreed to amend the Settlement Agreement, conditioned upon the Court's approval and ongoing enforcement power.

         3. At a public meeting held on September 11, 2017, which was previously advertised to the public in bills mailed to the District's customers on August 29, 2017, as well as on the District's website, the District's Board of Commissioners voted to approve the terms of this Consent Decree with Exhibit A and authorized the District's attorney, Michael J. Wall, to sign and submit it on the District's behalf.

         4. At a public meeting held on September 14, 2017, which was previously advertised to the public on August 27, 2017, in the Herald-Citizen, Baxter's Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to approve the terms of this Consent Decree with Exhibit A and authorized Baxter's attorney, Daniel H. Rader, IV, to sign and submit it on Baxter's behalf.

         5. The parties have agreed to and submitted this Consent Decree, as memorialized by the signatures of their counsel below. The Court hereby approves this Consent Decree and orders the parties to conform their conduct to its terms.

         JURISDICTION

         6. The Court has original subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the parties assert rights under federal law. The Court also has personal jurisdiction over the parties.

         7. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action to effectuate and enforce the provisions of this Consent Decree and to resolve disputes over the execution, construction, ...


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