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ANDERSON — If the Madison County Council was hoping for a quick resolution to the lawsuit filed in 2019 over the new commissioner districts, council members will be disappointed because it won’t be happening anytime soon.

On Thursday, for the seventh time since last October, Superior Court 1 Judge Mike Casati, the special judge in the case, granted a continuance.

The new hearing date has been set for Aug. 11. The hearing will determine how much Kevin Sipe and Wes Likens have to reimburse the county for the cost of legal fees in the case.

The County Council on Tuesday passed a resolution asking the commissioners for a timely resolution to the lawsuit.

Councilman Anthony Emery said the county is looking at an additional cost of $20,000 to pay an attorney in the final phase of the lawsuit to determine how much Sipe and Likens owe in legal costs incurred by Madison County.

Anthony Emery

Anthony Emery

“We’re encouraging the commissioners to bring this to an end,” he said.

The Madison County commissioners voted in 2019 to change the district lines based on population.

At the time, Sipe and Likens filed a lawsuit challenging the new district lines prior to the 2020 election for the North and Middle District seats on the Board of County Commissioners.

The Indiana Court of Appeals last year stayed the permanent injunction granted by former Madison Circuit Court Division 5 Judge Thomas Clem and ruled the new district lines would be used for the 2020 election.

“Where a temporary injunction is dissolved and not replaced by a permanent injunction, the enjoined party is generally entitled to compensation for the damages it incurred,” Judge Casati wrote in an earlier court ruling.

The ruling further states a defendant (Madison County) is entitled to fees and costs when it was determined that injunctive relief was not warranted.

Madison County, through attorney Jonathan Hughes with the Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans, contends the county is entitled to $156,759 from Sipe and Likens for the cost of the legal action in January and the subsequent appeals.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.