Attorney For Defendants In Summit Water's Suit Responds
Summit Water's multi-million-dollar lawsuit, against the company's founder and a former major shareholder in the firm, has brought a response from a Salt Lake attorney who represents most of the defendants in the suit.
In an e-mail to KPCW, attorney Shawn Draney said that the lawsuits time-barred, and is without merit in any event.
The lawsuit in Third District Court names the Estate of Hy Saunders, who died July 13th, Stuart Knowles and his company Trilogy Limited, and John Flitton, Summit Water's attorney for many years.
The suit says that Saunders founded the company in 1979 and was President and a member of the Board of Directors until 2015. He was succeeded by his son Brody, also a defendant in the suit.
The filing claims that the elder Saunders and Knowles dominated the affairs of the company since they were the majority owners of water shares in the company.
The suit is asking for nearly $18 million in damages, saying that after the sale of water rights eight years ago, and the sale of the company’s water treatment plant five years ago, the proceeds were diverted to the defendants, not Summit Water.
In his response, Draney said that the lawsuit is making some very, very serious accusations against the former officers and staff of the water company--as well as past members of the board of directors.
He noted that until recently, the board has had six members. Draney said the lawsuit doesn't explain how two directors (apparently Saunders and Knowles) controlled all those people.
Draney wrote that nothing inappropriate happened. He said the former directors and staffers "did their job just fine" consistent with the rules, regulations, agreements and longstanding practices of the company.
The attorney also said that while the lawsuit name Hy Saunders Estate, that isn't an entity that can be sued until a Personal Representative is named. He said they have filed a probate motion asking for his widow, Debora Saunders, to be appointed to that position, and they will be representing her.
Draney wrote that they are preparing a motion to dismiss all but a very small fraction of the claims. That last portion may require some discovery.
Draney also represents Brody Saunders, Knowles and Trilogy Limited, but not John Flitton.