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Domina Law Seeks Trial in Contract Termination Suit Against Crofton Council

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Attorney Christian T. Williams and Domina Law Group filed a lawsuit against the Crofton City Council over claims that it unlawfully terminated its contract with a law firm tasked with providing both legal and administrative services to the 800-resident community.

As noted in a recent article from the Norfolk Daily News, the lawsuit was filed in May on behalf of Daniel and Charlie Hendrix, of the Hendrix Law Firm, in Knox County District Court. It alleges the Council’s actions in terminating the contract this past January violated the terms of the written contract and the Open Meetings Act, and was therefore illegal. The Act requires City Council business to be transacted openly and in view of the public. In this case the City excluded the general public from discussion regarding the Hendrix Law Contract before voting to terminate it.

Though a response filed by the City of Crofton on July 3 notes the City Council did vote to terminate the contract, it disputes the allegations.

Part of the dispute has to do a claim that the Council, being two members short, lacked the necessary presence of a majority of council members to form a quorum. A quorum is required in order to conduct City business, including termination of the Hendrix Law contract. At the time of termination, the City of Crofton the Mayor and two City Council members were the only ones present for the vote. The Mayor under Nebraska law is not considered a member of the Council for voting purposes, and cannot create a quorum.

The most recent opinion from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office in May, though nonbinding, found the Council having only two members was insufficient in establishing a quorum, and that, as a result, “the members had no authority to transact business.” The lawsuit seeks damages for funds owed to the Hendrix Law Firm, attorneys’ fees and other costs, and a jury trial.

You can read the full article discussing the case from the Norfolk Daily News.

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