Lee’s Summit lawsuit over Wal-Mart rezoning continues

rpulley@lsjournal.comDecember 11, 2013 

A Jackson County judge last week ruled that a lawsuit over a disputed rezoning in Lee’s Summit for a Wal-Mart Supercenter continues, vacating a dismissal by a previous judge.

On Dec. 5, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth R. Garret III vacated the dismissal signed by Judge Michael Manners just before he retired, responding to a motion by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The court has scheduled a case management conference for the suit in early January.

Richard and Paula McMillin had sued the city, and the firm of Mitchell, Kristl & Lieber that represented Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the rezoning of land near Missouri 291 and Missouri 150 in south Lee’s Summit.

The suit in part asks for a declaratory judgment that the rezoning was “void, unlawful and erroneous, and without jurisdiction.”

It alleges that after initially voting against the project, the City Council reversed itself (during the same meeting) to reconsider it at a later meeting. On March 7, it was approved by the city, but the plaintiffs contend the rezoning process needed to start over after the first vote regarding the rezoning failed. Those steps weren’t taken.

Christine Bushyhead, of Mitchell, Kristl & Lieber, said her firm is still analyzing Garrett’s order, but she believes her firm is no longer part of the case, as the judge dismissed it as a defendant.

Two counts in the case also were dismissed by Garrett.

But the core issue - whether the rezoning was handled correctly - is still an open issue to be decided at trial for a “declaratory judgment” on the rezoning.

“That’s true,” Bushyhead said. “It’s a matter of how you get to the decision.”

Douglas Patterson, lawyer for the McMillins, agreed that Mitchell, Kristl & Lieber were dismissed from the case.

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