Judge To Rule in Ongoing Ashby High-Rise Case

April 22nd, 2014

In the never-ending saga that is the Houston property dispute of Ashby, a judge is poised to rule on whether he will issue a permanent injunction barring construction. The jury determined that the designs for the Ashby high-rise, as submitted were a nuisance. At a hearing yesterday, the judge (in something of a surprise to me) suggested that something less than a permanent injunction may issue. In short, he suggested that if the developer submitted a modified design, that would not be a nuisance (whatever that means in this bizarre case), a partial injunction shall issue. That would, in my mind, disregard the jury’s verdict (which I think was an incorrect verdict). It would seem that a new design would require a new trial with experts and everything. This case should get reversed on appeal in any event due to the incorrect instructions about the nature of what constitutes a nuisance.

Erin Mulvaney has a writeup:

State District Judge Randy Wilson said he was struggling with what would happen next if he rules against developers and permanently blocks the 21-story residential tower. He told attorneys in a Harris County courtroom packed with onlookers that the Ashby case is not as clear-cut as previous nuisance cases, such as a slaughterhouse or tanning facility planned alongside private homes. …

“We know a Maryland Manor is fine, but 21 stories is not fine,” Wilson said after hearing the last of the legal arguments in the case. “But what is? That’s a horse of a different color.”

The judge asked for a final set of documents from attorneys on both sides and promised to make a decision promptly.

“This case has intense public interest and has stretched for some time,” Wilson told the courtroom. “Because of this, I will rule quickly.”

Update: Here is a copy of the City’s letter. Letter to Judge Wilson