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Hays Wind LLC joins lawsuit

By KALEY LYON

klyon@dailynews.net

As a civil lawsuit seeking to overturn the Ellis County Commission's decision to permit a wind farm southwest of Hays makes its way through the court system, Hays Wind LLC will act as a co-defendant.

The company, represented by Hays attorney Mel Sauer and Wichita attorney Jay Fowler, will join Ellis County in defending allegations brought forth by the 41 plaintiffs, represented by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes.

"The motion to intervene was granted," said attorney Dennis Davidson, who represents the Ellis County Commission.

Hays Wind, owned by Iberdrola Renewable Energies, filed a motion to intervene earlier this month, a request granted by District Judge Tom Toepfer during a teleconference Wednesday afternoon.

Ellis County's legal counsel expressed no objection to the company's request to join the defense.

Last week, however, plaintiffs filed a memorandum in objection to the requested intervention.

The document questioned whether the company had filed the motion in a timely manner and had a vested right in development, as defined by statute.

The plaintiff's memorandum also maintained the county commission is the "proper and only defendant" required for adequate representation.

"Hays Wind LLC's participation, even if it were permissible, would not be productive," the document states. "Judging from its proposed answer, which merely repeats the county's position, it would contribute nothing but a redundant voice and duplicative pleadings."

Attempts to reach Hughes for comment were unsuccessful at time of publication.

Hays Wind filed a reply brief countering the arguments Tuesday.

The document argued the company is "uniquely suited" to respond to allegations regarding the conditional-use permit application submitted by Hays Wind.

"Any decision on the merits of the dispute now before the court will substantially impact the rights of Hays Wind," the reply brief states.

"Intervention should be allowed."

Sauer could not be reached for comment.

No additional proceedings have yet been scheduled regarding the lawsuit.

As of Sept. 17, however, three of the suit's original plaintiffs have been dismissed from the legal action.

Mary Meier, Linda Donlay and Wanda Pinkington have been removed from the case.