Carroll Town Attorney Holds Firm Against Prospective Landfill Buyer
CARROLL — At a Carroll Town Hall meeting Wednesday night, Attorney Paul Webb outlined next steps for the town now that Sealand Waste LLC has intervened as a plaintiff in challenging a 2007 local law regulating landfills in the town.
Sealand Waste is a potential buyer of the property on Dodge Hill Road that is owned by Carol L. Jones and her husband, Donald J. Jones, which Jones-Carroll Inc. had operated a construction and demolition landfill under permits obtained from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Sealand Waste wants to expand the landfill on the entire parcel and is pursuing a DEC permit for the proposed expansion. It was denied a federal permit in part due to Local Law No. 1 of 2007, which was enacted by the town of Carroll and banned the operation of any solid waste management facility in the town but exempted facilities in operation with permits issued by the DEC and operating under existing permits.
Jones has been challenging the 2007 law in court, and Sealand Waste moved to intervene as a plaintiff in the case and submitted a complaint challenging the law.
Judge Frank Sedita ruled in January 2017 to allow Sealand Waste to intervene. The appellate court upheld that decision, saying a nonparty is permitted to intervene in such matters when the nonparty may be adversely affected by the judgment.
Webb said that though Sealand has been allowed to intervene, he recommends that the town continue to fight back by seeking permission to appeal this decision. If this is granted, the court of appeals would examine whether it is proper for Sealand to intervene on a case that already received a final order when Jones was the plaintiff.
“We had a determination in which Jones’ attorneys concluded it was final, the court of appeals concluded it was final. And for Sealand to be allowed to intervene on an action that had been concluded… I think we should (appeal the intervention),” Webb said. “The worst that can happen is they reject it and we’re in the same spot that we are. I think we already won, we’ll just have to go back and relitigate it.”
Webb said that Sealand is entering the ring on behalf of their prospective seller on the grounds of pursuing three causes of action that were not dismissed by the court, despite the final order that was reached in 2015.
“A final order means there’s nothing more to be done besides ministerial things,” Webb said. “You can’t send it back to relitigate. Fifteen months after that decision, Sealand, who was not a party, makes a motion saying they’re a prospective purchaser with an interest in this thing, and because appellate division didn’t actually say that three of the causes of action were dismissed, that they were still pending, even though the plaintiffs took an appeal to the court and denied leave. The way I look at it, the whole thing’s a joke.”
Webb said that though these causes of action were not dismissed, the appellate division declared that Jones could not recover them, which made them “effectively dismissed,” and that they could be fought against again as they were against Jones’s team.
“(Sealand) are stepping into Jones’s shoes to raise issues that Jones didn’t raise. The problem is, there isn’t an action to intervene in. It was finalized,” Webb said. “It’s just a second bite of the apple. We’re going back and having to relitigate the same things we litigated before.”