Judge postpones decision on T.C. lights lawsuits

Stadium lights at Witter Recreational Fields off of Duke Street. (Photo Credit: Missy Schrott)

By Missy Schrott | [email protected]

Judge Thomas Horne ruled on Tuesday that two of the cases related to lighting the T.C. Williams High School football field must refile their pleadings before it is determined whether the cases will go to trial, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, Roy Shannon.

Since city council voted in October 2018 to allow Alexandria City Public Schools to modernize Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium and add lights to the field, four groups of neighbors have filed lawsuits against the city and school board.

Thus far, Horne, who is presiding over all of the cases, has ruled to send one of the cases to trial on Feb. 24, 2020. The court has yet to make a decision about a second case, for which a hearing was held in late June, according to Shannon.

(Read more: The history beneath T.C. Williams)

Horne held a hearing on Tuesday to consider the city and school board’s motions to have the remaining two cases dismissed. After some back and forth between the plaintiffs and defendants, Horne ruled that the plaintiffs would have until the end of September to amend their pleadings to signify the neighbors are in close proximity to the school.

“It’s mostly procedural, but we have the ability to refile here in the next couple months and then we’ll go through that process again,” Shannon said. “We’re happy that we get to amend the pleading. … The ability to go back and re-plead is very beneficial to us.”

Once the plaintiffs refile, Shannon said he doesn’t expect another hearing until late October.

City Communications Director Craig Fifer declined to comment on the judge’s decision other than to say the city would comment through the judicial process.

(Read more: T.C. football to play 2019 home games in Springfield)