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Judge Orders Reassesment Of Legal Fees in Mountain Water Case

Mountain Water Company, Missoula, MT.
Cheri Trusler
Mountain Water Company, Missoula, MT.

A judge has ordered the former owner of Mountain Water Company to recalculate the attorney's fees it is seeking after losing a condemnation case and being forced to sell the water company to the City of Missoula.

Missoula Mayor John Engen:

"It reduces the overall cost of the city acquiring the system. We’re talking millions of dollars, yeah."

District Judge Karen Townsend said the $7.1 million in legal expenses claimed by The Carlyle Group and Mountain Water exceeded reasonable and customary rates.

Exactly how much the companies might have to reduce their request for legal expenses is still unclear. They have two weeks to submit reduced claims, and the city will have an opportunity to respond before Townsend makes a final decision.

And Engen says that there is still, "potential for appeal, which is still the nature of it, but we are marching forward with regard to our final order of condemnation and taking possession of the water company. We think that happens within a month or so, and we’ll have the keys and begin operations."

The city is taking ownership of Mountain Water after the Carlyle Group lost a years-long condemnation fight. It’s being forced to sell the water company to the City of Missoula for $88.6 million.

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