Tea Party Group Asks to Intervene in Term Limit, Salary Cap Lawsuit

by Kemp Brinson

John Hall and the “Lakeland Tea Party and 912 Project” have filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Sam Killebrew to overturn the salary caps and term limits of Polk County Commissioners.

Document: Motion to Intervene and Motion to Dismiss

The Motion has two functions. First, it asks the court to allow Mr. Hall and the Tea Party group to become defendants in the lawsuit, even though they are not suing anyone and have not been sued. Assuming the court grants that motion, the group also asks the court to dismiss the case on two separate grounds, similar to issues I briefly discussed in one of my prior posts.

The intervening defendants ask the court to dismiss the case because of lack of standing. Standing refers to the right of a party to bring an action. Generally, you cannot sue someone unless you have been injured or damaged by that party in some way, or will be if the court does not act:

“Plaintiff has not alleged any individualized or special injury distinguishable from any other resident or voter in Polk County. Plaintiff has not alleged any facts showing that he has been adversely affected. In fact, Plaintiff has failed to allege any injury whatsoever.” (Motion, p. 7).

The intervenors also ask the court to dismiss the case because of a “failure to state a cause of action.” This type of motion can be brought for a couple of different reasons, but here they focus on one reason. They allege that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action because it does not present an actual, present controversy to the court:

“In this case, Plaintiff seeks nothing more than legal advice from this Court. Plaintiff has failed to plead any immunity, power, privilege, or right of his that will be resolved by a declaration by this Court. Plaintiff has failed to allege any individual ‘status or other equitable or legal relations affected by’ the County’s charter. Plaintiff has failed to allege any facts that would establish that Plaintiff possess ‘some definite and concrete right, the contest of which involves the legal relations of Plaintiff and Defendants.” (Motion, p.  10).

This is a solid opening shot from the proponents of these provisions. I look forward to Mr. Killebrew’s response. There is no  firm deadline for him to file one. The intervenors (or any other party) can set a hearing on the motion, subject to the judge’s calendar and the schedules of the attorneys for the parties. It will probably be at least 30 days before it is heard.

The case appears to have been assigned to Judge Selph.