Judge rules in Town Park Center’s favor, city appeals

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On Tuesday, in the 155th Judicial Court, Judge Jeff Steinhauser removed the City of Sealy from any financial responsibility to deliver commercial property on time to Town Park Center’s anchor tenant.

According to court documents from the Austin County District Clerk’s Office, the plea to the jurisdiction filed by defendant, the City of Sealy, was granted by oral ruling from the bench following Feb. 14 proceedings.

On the other hand, individual cases against Sealy Mayor Mark Stolarski, Larry Kuciemba and City Engineer David Kelly have not been dismissed. A hearing and testimony request by the plaintiff, Town Park Center, for temporary injunction was set for 9 a.m. this morning, but defense council immediately appealed and a future court date with an appellate court has yet to be set.

Judge Steinhauser also issued an opinion stating, “It is my opinion that Defendants, whether correctly or incorrectly, have properly asserted appellate jurisdiction on behalf of the City, Mayor and/or City Manager. It is now up to that Court to decide whether my rulings were correct and/or whether that Court has jurisdiction under Chapter 51 of the Texas Civil Procedure & Remedies Code as to all or some of the Defendants.”

Judge Steinhauser concluded that if he were to proceed with a temporary injunction hearing related to the mayor or city manager, he would, in a sense, determine that “the appellate court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the appeal,” and that is not his decision. Hence, no further conferences or proceedings will be scheduled, pending guidance from the appellate court.

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