Developer wants more arguments in city suit

By J. PATRICK PEPPER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – A hearing on monetary damages scheduled for last week in the city’s lawsuit against Burton-Katzman Development Co. was adjourned.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Michael Sapala adjourned the city’s motion for summary disposition on claims of $19.5 million in damages after attorneys for some recently added Burton-Katzman defendants argued that they should be entitled to a full discovery process. Sapala will entertain arguments on the matter Feb. 8.

In December, Sapala granted the city’s motion to add several company executives and subsidiaries to the suit as new information emerged over the course of discovery. City Attorney Debra Walling said since the new defendants have been added, three new law firms have joined against the city. All of the defendants are related closely to a small employee group that operated Burton-Katzman’s Byzantine corporate structure.

The lawsuit is centered on the incomplete West Village Commons development in the city’s west downtown district. Sapala already has ordered the company to begin work on six condominium units and two midrise office or hotel buildings by no later than April, while the damages matter remains pending.