More cleanup work here regarding what you may have seen on NextDoor.
The water company lawyers recently asked a judge to “abate” the ratecase to a time when judgements on a previously filed case against the company are final.
The word “Abate” does not mean “dismissed,” which is how the poster on NextDoor interpreted it.
“Halted” or “postponed” might be better synonyms in the context of the water company’s actual request. You be the judge. The water company pleading said: “WOWSC respectfully requests that the Honorable ALJ issue an order granting this motion and abating this proceeding and the procedural schedule set forth in SOAH Order No. 2 until all pending related litigation is final and no longer appealable.” (emphasis added)
Such abatement to a future date would have saved the corporation and our ratepayers money, by deferring the lawyers’ rate case fees to a future date. By opposing this postponement, the ratepayer reps are adding to the company’s legal bills in the near term.
The following link provides the water company’s motion for abatement. It also provides an informative history of the multiple lawsuits which a small group of people have lodged against the water company over the years.
The same poster on NextDoor then asked a rhetorical question, “Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation.”
A mediation had already been set for early October. It had to be postponed due to the need for rulings on these matters, particularly with regard to disclosure of lawyer invoices.
The administrative law judge did not rule against the water company in the matter of disclosure of the invoices which contain attorney-client privileged content. The Texas attorney general’s office agrees that these invoices are privileged.
The Administrative Law Judge in the rate case hopes that a future mediation can bridge the two parties’ concerns. Another mediation is being scheduled.
For reference, here is what the NextDoor post said, in part:
“WOWSC tried to get the rate case abated (dismissed). Late yesterday the PUC judge ruled the case must go to mediation. 1) Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation?”