City, KMEA lawsuit clears Supreme Court appeal
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday against an appeal brought by the Board of Public Utilities, Kansas City, Kan.
BPU filed an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking the Franklin County District Court to move a case, of which Baldwin City is involved, from Franklin County to Wyandotte County. Franklin County District Court Judge James Smith ruled earlier this year that Franklin County was an appropriate court for the case brought by the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency and the cities of Baldwin City, Fredonia, Mulvane, Neodesha, Osawatomie, Ottawa and Winfield.
BPU's Nearman power plant had a fire in July that kept BPU from providing power to KMEA and participating cities. Baldwin City Administrator Larry Paine said cities were forced to purchase power on the open market at rates well above levels described in contracts with BPU. The cities and KMEA filed suit in January after BPU refused to honor the contract and how it said charges would be calculated for emergency replacement power.
Since the filing by the cities, BPU has filed four motions to move the case from Franklin County, including suing Judge Smith. All the motions have ruled in favor of the cities and KMEA.
"I'm really pleased the Kansas Supreme Court ruled against the Board of Public Utilities," said Baldwin City attorney Bob Bezek. "The BPU has spent a lot of effort trying to get out of Franklin County and into Wyandotte County. But I'm glad we are going to try the case in Franklin County, and I hope we can get past the procedural mishmash and get down to the merits of the trial."
Bezek said the case against the BPU looks strong.
"We feel real good about our case right now," he said.
Paine said BPU's attempts to relocate the case should not delay the expected fall trial date. The BPU filed the appeal with the Kansas Supreme Court May 12.
"It assures the case will continue in the time-frame we were expecting it to happen," Paine said.