On Thursday last week (June 6, 2010) the Superior Court of Arizona ordered that Florence Copper be awarded $1,700,000 in attorneys' fees and $32,365.55 in costs.
These fees and costs must now be paid by the Town of Florence.
The Town had challenged the company's right to mine on its own property and the Town lost.
Here's what the court said in its ruling:
So far, the Town has been wholly unsuccessful in this litigation. Florence Copper has been successful in demonstrating that it has a vested right to mine copper in the BHP mine overlay area. Florence Copper's claim is worth millions of dollars.
The Town presents no evidence that the Town ever made any reasonable written offer to settle this litigation.
The Town made clear that it would accept nothing less than shutting down Florence Copper's business. This factor strongly cuts in favor of an award of fees to Florence Copper.
The Town decided to aggressively engage in multimillion dollar litigation against Florence Copper in the face of a Development Agreement which, in the Court's mind, contradicts the Town's position. The Town took a risk, lost, and should bear the consequences of this litigation decision.
The court also had this to say:
The fees award is reasonable when compared to the Town's legal fees. At oral argument, the Court learned that the Town has spent approximately $1.5 million in attorneys' fees. The Town also employs in-house counsel who has participated in the case.
On this litigation alone, the Town has now had to pay their own legal fees and costs of $1.5 million, and now the court has ordered them to pay Florence Copper fees and costs as well, an additional $1.7 million. That's $3.2 million and counting.
We remain puzzled and discouraged by the decisions coming from the Town Council of Florence. They continue their litigation tactics and spending, appealing previous decisions they have lost, challenging others, risking further cost awards that will likely go against them as well. The Council seems completely undeterred by the financial impact of their decisions and seems quite content to continue raking up big legal bills at the expense of their citizens who are innocent in all of this.
Here is a link to the full ruling if you wish to read it:
Our staff is available to answer any questions about this ruling or other Florence Copper-related topics. 520-374-3984