Friday, December 19, 2014

Parties seek trial in SilverWing lawsuit: Sandpoint Airport (KSZT), Idaho

SANDPOINT - Mediation and arbitration have failed to gain any loft in SilverWing at Sandpoint's federal suit against Bonner County.

Both sides filed a joint resolution Monday asking for a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene in April.

"The parties are not presently able to agree on alternative dispute resolution and wish to proceed to trial," read a joint notice to the court.

The notice comes after Bonner County rejected an offer by SilverWing to settle the matter for $5 million, according to Commissioner Mike Nielsen. The offer is $500,000 more than what SilverWing offered to settle for in 2013.

SilverWing, the developers of a fly-in housing project on the west side of Sandpoint Airport, sued the county in 2012 alleging it was misled about a plan to relocate a runway and Federal Aviation Administration approval of through-the-fence access at the airport. The suit also alleged that the county violated SilverWing's civil rights via inverse condemnation and denial of equal protection under the law.

However, a federal judge jettisoned three-fourths of the claims raised by SilverWing last month. Judge Edward Lodge ruled that the company's civil rights claims fail as a matter of law because there is no allegation that the county had a policy or custom that was the moving force behind the alleged constitutional violations.

Lodge left one state law claim intact in which SilverWing argued that it reasonably relied - to its detriment - on the county's promise that there were no plans to shift the runway.


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