PV Councilor Morrison loses one legal battle with city, though another continues

David Morrison came out on the losing end of a fight with Prairie Village over a petition he circulated among residents in 2008.

David Morrison has yet to appear in court to fight motions seeking his ouster from the Prairie Village City Council, but his other legal struggle with the city appears to be at an end.

The Kansas Supreme Court last week refused to take up Morrison’s appeal of a lower court’s decision in a case involving a petition Morrison circulated among Prairie Village residents in 2008. The petition sought to challenge an ordinance adopted by the council allowing the city to use bond money on parks projects. Morrison’s petition would have delayed enactment of the ordinance and put the issue up for a public vote.

But because Morrison didn’t strictly adhere to the petition process laid out in state statute, the city sued to have the petition thrown out. A district court ruled in the city’s favor in 2009, and an appellate court affirmed that ruling in December 2011. From a legal perspective, the Supreme Court’s decision not to reconsider the appellate court’s ruling essentially closes the matter.

Since the city sued to have the petition thrown out, it amassed $13,400 in legal fees. Morrison had said in the midst of the dispute that he would pay the city’s legal fees if he lost the case, but waffled on that pledge after the appellate court’s decision. Last week, however, he said he was leaning toward paying the legal fees the city incurred after he challenged the district courts initial ruling.

“I think that’s a fair standard, because I wasn’t the one who initiated the original case,” Morrison said.

Morrison said he still hopes the city will “repudiate the ordinance.”

“Of course, if the city ends up throwing out the ordinance, I don’t think I should have to pay anything,” he said. “This started because I thought the taxpayers should have a say about how bond money was used, and I still feel that way.”