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Georgia Supreme Court to Hear Suwanee Appeal

The city will make its appeal of a $1.8-million verdict in favor of developers Settles Bridge Farm LLC.

The City Of Suwanee will make its appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday, Oct. 1, of a $1.8-million jury award that favors developers in a case that dates to 2008.

Jane Hansen, a spokesperson for the Georgia Supreme Court, said Monday that attorneys for Suwanee and Settles Bridge Farm LLC are fourth in line on Oct. 1 to make their arguments to the seven-judge panel.

Last fall, a Gwinnett Superior Court jury sided with Settles Bridge Farm in its lawsuit that claimed Suwanee officials were responsible for the developers losing a contract for a land sale.

The jury awarded the developers $1.8 million. Judge Warren Davis upheld the award, and mediation also failed to bring the parties to a settlement.

Hansen said Monday that in the Supreme Court appeal, attorneys for both parties will have 20 minutes to make their cases. The high court must rule on the appeal by the end of March 2013.

Should Suwanee lose the appeal, it is well fixed to pay. It is sitting on a $2- million settlement from Gwinnett County in the Service Delivery Strategy settlement from earlier in 2012.

Settles Bridge Farm, led by former Gwinnett homebuilders Brad Williams and David Bowling, had an agreement in 2008 to sell 36 acres of land to Notre Dame Academy of Duluth, which wanted to build a larger campus in Suwanee.

However, Suwanee officials, feeling that residents in the area would not want a school nearby, passed a moratorium on new construction, then enacted a special use permit for the area. The permit would not allow development of a size that Notre Dame Academy was seeking. The school never applied for the permit.

The jury award appears to be the difference between the $8 million sales price and the $6.2 million that Settles Bridge Farm paid for the land.

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