Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Natrona County
A judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the Natrona County Board of County Commissioners over an alleged illegal vote in July.
"What is filed does not appear to be a proper claim," Natrona County District Court Judge told Paul Paad during a motion hearing.
Former county commission candidate Paul Paad wanted the court to declare that the commission’s July 15 vote on zoning change for 30 acres near Bar Nunn violated the county’s own rules and should be rescinded and annulled, according to his lawsuit filed Jan. 20.
Deputy Natrona County Attorney Heather Duncan-Malone responded that a district court may review a decision by a county commission, but that requires following the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Paad, who did not have an attorney, did not follow those rules, Duncan-Malone wrote
He did not show he was personally “‘aggrieved or adversely affected in fact’” by the commission, nor did he file his complaint in a timely manner, she wrote.
Someone filing a complaint must do so within 30 days of the decision, and that deadline passed more than six months ago, Duncan-Malone wrote.
Paad also did not make a concise statement showing the jurisdiction and venue for his complaint; did not outline the specific issues of law for the court to review; and did not show he was hurt by the commission’s decision, she wrote.
“The Petitioner has simply asserted that the Board’s process for reconsidering its previous decision was incorrect and this assertion is based on little more than the Petitioner’s opinion,” Duncan-Malone wrote. “A difference of opinion does not give rise to a viable claim for relief in this instance."
During the hearing, she made these same points.
Paad, who represented himself, said his lawsuit was not an appeal as discussed in the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure, but rather an initial complaint.
He didn't believe he had violated a 30-day deadline because he repeatedly brought up his objections to the commissioners about their decision and it's an ongoing matter, he said. "It's just been ignored when it was made in a timely manner."
However, the legal claim in the lawsuit is not about the specific zoning change decision from last summer, he said.
The commissioners represent all the citizens in the county and they need to follow their own zoning resolutions, he said."The claim is the county has to follow their own resolutions."
But Forgey didn't agree to that reasoning.
"What generated whatever you're claiming happened in July," the judge said.
"It seems to claim there was some improper process used," Forgey said. "That would put it in a certain process and requires a timely response."
Forgey dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning Paad could file another claim as long as he followed the proper procedures.