Opp council suit dropped

Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Circuit Judge Ben Bowden on Wednesday granted the plantiff’s request for dismissal in a lawsuit filed against three members of the Opp City Council in August.

Plantiff’s attorney Matt Brunson confirmed Wednesday afternoon the lawsuit has been dismissed.

Three weeks ago, Opp council members T.D. Morgan, Bobby Ray Owens and Mary Brundidge were named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Shelly Tomberlin, who with her husband, John Tomberlin, is seeking to open a Golden Rule Bar-B-Q restaurant next to the Best Western on the bypass in Opp. Tomberlin alleged that the three council members convened a pre-arranged, unadvertised meeting at the Blue Flame Grill after the Aug.1 regular council meeting adjourned at city hall. The lawsuit alleged that the three of them constituted a quorum, and their meeting was in violation of the Alabama Open Meetings Act.

Morgan requested and received from the Alabama League of Municipalities clarification on a quorum. According to a letter from Lori Lein, general counsel of the League, to Morgan, the three members do not constitute a quorum.

The letter refers to Section 36-25A-2(12) of the Alabama Code which provides that “unless otherwise provided by law, a quorum is a majority of the voting members of a governmental body,” and that section 11-43-48 of the Code provides that “in all towns or cities, a majority of the whole number of members to which such corporation is entitled, including the mayor in towns and cities of less than 12,000 population, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.”

In 2013, the city of Opp had 6,691 residents.

Brunson’s motion, filed Wednesday, came on the heels of a motion filed by John Peek, representing Morgan and Owens, on Tuesday. The judge could not have granted Peek’s motion without a hearing.

Judge Bowden had previously scheduled the first hearing in the case today.

Morgan, who ran for mayor rather than for reelection to his council seat, finished fourth in a field of seven candidates in last week’s election.

Owens finished first in his district, but is in a runoff. Brundidge finished second and is also in a runoff.

Brundidge confirmed Wednesday she was notified of the dismissal of the case. She had not yet retained an attorney.