Judge grants extra time for Opp man to find attorney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

The resident of the home set to be demolished by the city of Opp received a little more time, thanks to an order from Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan.

While McKathan did not rule on the injunctive relief, he did enter an order that prohibits the city from tearing down the home and the owners from making improvements to the home without a written plan agreed upon by both parties, or permission from the court, until the next hearing.

McKathan also has given Jerry McCormick and the owners of the home 30 days to retain an attorney, and to pay the cost bond for the case.

Opp City Attorney Tom Albritton requested that the court only give the owner until Feb. 23, which is the date the city must answer the complaint, which was filed by McCormick.

Albritton said there were no immediate plans that he knew of to tear down the home.

In January, the Opp City Council voted to proceed with tearing down the house, located at 402 Charles St., after McCormick failed to present a plan of action for repairing the home.

A representative from the local organization CHOPP was on hand at the meeting to present a plan for the home; however, the mayor and council would not allow it due to the fact that the homeowners had not given written consent for the group to speak on their behalf.

At Wednesday’s hearing, McCormick requested that Susan Herrin or Tina Morgan speak on his behalf.

However, McKathan told McCormick that he was prevented by law from allowing a non-lawyer to represent him.

McCormick told McKathan he had lived at the property on and off since he was 10 years old.

McKathan was also informed that CHOPP was ready to help fix the home.

Additionally, McKathan said McCormick’s sister, who is one of the property owners and listed as the person responsible for property taxes, might need to be named as a plaintiff.