Appeal of Valley Grande ruling still possible

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2003

After 10 months of hand wringing and brow wiping, Valley Grande has become a town.

That doesn’t mean that all legal options have been exhausted, though.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that a writ of mandamus filed by opponents of Valley Grande’s incorporation should be dismissed. The ruling stems from a writ of mandamus filed earlier this year by Collins Pettaway, the attorney representing Valley Grande residents opposed to incorporation.

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A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary appeal occurring when no other option exists.

The high court’s order required Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins to dismiss Pettaway’s writ of mandamus, which ended the legal challenge to Valley Grande’s existence.

Pettaway said Monday that another option of appeal existed &045; a quo warranto complaint. &uot;The actual merits of the case have not been decided,&uot; Pettaway said.

A quo warranto complaint is filed to contest the legal right for someone to hold office or the legal right for an entity to exist.

Pettaway said a quo warranto complaint has always been an option. &uot;All the while, that’s where we knew we needed to go,&uot; he said.

Pettaway added that further legal action must occur within a reasonable time, but didn’t place a time restriction on that action. &uot;In the past, some towns have existed for two or three years before action was filed. One town existed for six years,&uot; he said.

J. Doyle Fuller, the attorney representing Valley Grande residents favoring incorporation, said that a quo warranto complaint couldn’t be used to question the existence of a municipal corporation.

That’s good news to Mayor Herb Story’s ears. &uot;It was cut and dry,&uot; Story said. &uot;There was a mandate that we were right.&uot;

Story added that Valley Grande will focus on expansion and bringing business to the area now that the high court has ruled.

Story met with bank representatives Monday to discuss the possibility of a branch bank in Valley Grande. A pharmacy already has agreed to locate in the town. A shopping center is being built off Alabama Highway 22, and another shopping center could be on the way. In addition, Story is looking for a physician to locate in the town. &uot;In any city, in any town, Valley Grande needs it,&uot; Story said.

The high court’s Friday ruling isn’t expected to cause much change in Valley Grande, Story noted. He said businesses that hadn’t yet purchased business licenses could start dropping by City Hall. &uot;They had a wait-and-see attitude,&uot; Story said.

Now that the court case has been settled, those businesses are expected to purchase their business licenses.

Council member Ed Pearson agreed. Pearson said that the suit’s dismissal would help the town collect unpaid fees. &uot;I think it’ll benefit everybody,&uot; Pearson said. &uot;Selma, too.&uot;