Judge rules in favor of city in Plano Tomorrow lawsuit

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A dispute over the Plano Tomorrow comprehensive plan came to an end Sept. 19 with a district court ruling in the city’s favor.
The summary judgment granted by Visiting Judge Henry Wade was for the City of Plano v. Carruth lawsuit, or “the Plano Tomorrow lawsuit,” which called into question whether or not the city secretary is obligated to submit a petition for a referendum on the city’s comprehensive plan to Plano City Council.

“It’s been a long process,” Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said. “I think it’s great for us to have a decision, and I think this goes back to the city’s position of looking for clarity on this issue, and I think we got that today.”

Jack Ternan, an attorney for the group suing the city, said his clients’ motion, which was originally filed three years ago by Ternan, was not presented to the visiting judge. The City of Plano filed a notice of motion for the Sept. 19 hearing just hours before Ternan’s group, according to Ternan.

“We are disappointed that the visiting judge did not read or even have our copy of the motion that we set for today and are disappointed in the ruling and plan to appeal,” Ternan said.

The hearing was held at the Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas.

Wade’s summary judgment comes after years of disputes in appellate courts. In February, the appeals court ruled trial courts could decide the city secretary dispute.

In mediation discussions July 10, the city said it had reached an agreement with the group of residents suing the city. The deal, which would have repealed and replaced the Plano Tomorrow plan with a compromised version, had fallen apart by July 18.

At a July 22 joint meeting with Plano City Council, two council members called for a vote to repeal the plan and replace it with the plan that was in place from 1986-2015. The vote was delayed and later tabled Aug. 19 by the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission until after the Sept. 19 court hearing.

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  1. Stepanie Saslove

    Judge Benjamin Smith of the 380th District Court was elected by the citizens of Collin County to make tough decisions, but he is apparently unwilling to do so. At the hearing on the Plano Tomorrow Lawsuit this morning—which had been postponed due to Judge Smith’s schedule—an unelected visiting judge heard the case without any prior notice to the parties. The visiting judge had not even been provided with the citizens’ motion for summary judgment—only the City’s filing. After oral argument from both sides, the visiting judge, Henry Wade, ruled for the City Secretary without explanation. The citizens plan to appeal and are disgusted by how this case was handled. It appears that it is time to replace Judge Smith with someone who is willing to do the job. Register your complaints to Amy Cabala at 972-548-4762 or email : acabala@collincountytx.gov or call his office

  2. Stepanie Saslove

    Scot, it’s easy to “outsmart” people, when you break your oath, violate the Texas Judicial Code of Conduct (see canon 3b): (1) A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge except those in which disqualification is required or recusal is appropriate. (2) A judge should be faithful to the law and shall maintain professional competence in it. A
    judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism. The plaintiffs weren’t “outsmarted”, they were the victims of procedural misconduct and back-room dealings. This malfeasance has Plano City Attorney Page Mims (or her agents Andy Taylor/Wallace Jefferson) fingerprints all over this. A four year case is changed to visiting judge (Not from Collin County) at the last second with NO notice or announcement. But the City and their supporters were prepared? It’s easy to outsmart people when you lie, act unethically and ambush people who have trusted the Judicial system.

  3. Oh for Pete’s sake. Cue the krazy krowd bellowing yet again. Anytime things don’t go your way, that automatically means somebody was bribed or paid off or perhaps fallen victim to Mayor Harry’s voodoo magic. Paige Mims (note correct spelling) can tell county judges what to do? Really? How exactly would she do that? Y’all have watched too many episodes of House of Cards. Nuts.

  4. So, if the City of Plano swaps in a new judge at the end, that judge does not review the motion, and then rules with little or no explanation…somehow the citizens are the ‘krazy krowd’?

    Maybe the elected Judge Smith should take an interest in an issue that is obviously important to the people.

    Gotta go, another episode of Parks and Recreation is coming on.

  5. Stepanie Saslove

    Que the krazy krowd? Really, let’s look at Mims history and the FACTS:
    1) FACT – In August of 2018, Mims thru her agents (she said they contacted her, not likely), contacted “certain elements”, in the AG’s office and disclosed privileged information to parties not directly involved in the PTP. This was done to create a friendly (to the City) brief to submit to the State Supreme Court. When the AG found out about it, he withdrew the brief within 24 hrs, for the first time in Texas history. Clear case of Mims failed attempt at influence peddling
    2) FACT – In mid-July the hearing was scheduled by Judge Smith to be heard on August 15th, one week before this hearing the court “realized” he’d be out of town and needed to delay once month to September 19th. Why did he schedule a hearing when he was to be out of town? Why did he not offer a visiting judge at that time? He could have.
    3) FACT – Judge Smith has admitted in his own words “Anytime a judge’s impartiality can reasonably be questioned, he or she is obligated to recuse and request that another judge hear it. Unfortunately, I had been contacted ex-parte by several interested persons trying to argue the merits of that case. I apologize for the notice.” So the Judge indicates he was approached illegally by people arguing the case. Why didn’t the judge just cut-them-off? Ex-parte does NOT mean emails, briefs or petitions; but personal contact, a conversation. The judge cannot use the receipt of an email/fax/voicemail,etc.. as an excuse to recuse himself.
    4) FACT-Civil procedure requires when a case is transferred to another judge notice is given to both parties at the same time; that didn’t happen. The City knew the case was transferred before the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs were waiting in the wrong courtroom because the marquee was wrong.
    5) FACT-if a judge decides at the last minute he must recuse himself it should be announced in the courtroom and the attorney’s are given the opportunity to set before a visiting judge or reschedule. That didn’t happen. The Plaintiffs attorney with NO notice was ushered into another courtroom. It was too late to file a motion to object to the visiting judge. All he could do was make an objection to the judge, when he had no idea if he needed to.
    6) FACT-When the Plaintiffs attorney arrived in the courtroom the City’s legal team, City Manager, PR person and several supporters were already there. When did they get notice?
    7) FACT– Legal representation should have had notice to have the time to research the judges background to determine if an objection is warranted; this is standard operating procedure.
    8) FACT – The visiting judge had all the Cities pleadings and requests for judgment, but not the Plaintiffs. How?
    9) FACT- The visiting judge had NO knowledge of the facts of the case. It may be common for visiting judges to decide cases, but there’s a major difference between deciding how to divide the silverware in a divorce case, then deciding a complicated case with major implications across the state.
    10) FACT- The visiting judge didn’t even take the time to review any of the documents. According to people present, he just played with his handkerchief and didn’t pay attention. He rendered his decision in less than 30 minutes. How could he render a fair and competent decision in a case that has been on-going for four years, been to the state Supreme Court twice without reading any pleadings and only listening to oral arguments for 30 minutes?
    11) FACT- The visiting judge rendered his decision without comment. What points of law did he weigh to make his decision? How is that just?
    12) FACT-Judge Smith never officially transferred the case to the visiting judge. The paperwork was never filed. So there is a legal question as to whether the visiting judge’s decision was even legal.
    13) FACT-An official request for explanation of Judge Smith’s actions has been sent to the court.
    These facts point to a corruption or incompetence. Mims has a history of questionable practices. The attorney’s she has hired at (tax payer expense) Wallace Jefferson and especifically Andy Taylor have reputations (look them up). Who was it that approached Judge Smtih? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why didn’t the judge stop the ex-parte conversation(s) before it/they started? Why didn’t the Judge recuse himself then? Why did he wait until 30 minutes before the hearing was to start? Why didn’t he announce the transfer in his courtroom? Why didn’t the proper documentation to transfer the case get filed? Why did he schedule the hearing, then delay the hearing and if he needed to recuse himself discuss the situation with the council and give them the opportunity to reschedule and or transfer to another court with notice?
    These issues and facts point to a very bizarre and unusual and set of actions that require investigation, clarification and explanation.

    • FACT – Your group, the Hate Slate, is based on fear mongering, and if you don’t get your way, it’s always a conspiracy or people succumbing to the magical powers of Harry. Wasting tax payers money? The Hate Slate filed the suit in the first place and Plano rightfully stood ground to prevent the mom and pop NIMBY folk from short circuiting city plans.

  6. Stepanie Saslove

    More disclosures today. Everyone knows the marquee that lists all cases and courtrooms incorrectly listed this case and the courtroom where the case was to be heard. One of the Plaintiffs arrived before the court opened. She was there before anyone from the City’s team/supporters arrived. So when the courthouse opened she looked at the marquee and went to the courtroom indicated. No one from the City (attorney’s City staff or supporters went to the incorrectly marked courtroom. But instead they went to the correct courtroom, even though the marquee was never updated. How did the City’s attorney’s staff and supporters know where to go (when all public information was incorrect)? They must have been given notice before the court opened. Notice that didn’t get to the Plaintiffs, their attorneys or supporters.

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