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All defendants but two dismissed from wind turbine lawsuit

All defendants but two have been dismissed from a lawsuit against those involved a proposed wind turbine farm on Turkey Heaven Mountain in Cleburne County.

Circuit Judge John C. Thomason dismissed the defendants from the lawsuit without comment in an order filed on Wednesday.

Those defendants were landowners who had discussed allowing wind turbines to be built on their property. Plaintiffs were nearby landowners who don’t want the turbines built.
Plaintiffs attorney Chad Hopper said he requested the rest of the residents named in the case be dismissed because he discovered they did not have contracts with Nations Energy Solutions, the company exploring the possibility of building the wind turbine farm.

Terra Gen, the other company named in the lawsuit, and Nations are the last two defendants in the case.

However, Hopper said Friday, the other defendants can be renamed in the lawsuit at a later date if the plaintiffs request it. The dismissal comes just a week after Christopher Hopkins, attorney for the defendants, filed a motion to dismiss.

The lawsuit, filed in June by Cleburne County residents who own property near Turkey Heaven Mountain, claimed they would be harmed physically and financially if the wind turbines were built on the mountain. They requested a permanent injunction on the construction and financial compensation including court costs and “any other further relief” to which they were entitled.

Hopkins’ request to dismiss the lawsuit called the complaint “speculative” and charged there was no evidence to support the suppositions of harm.

“Reading the complaint reminds the reader of those who opposed the railroads in the 19th Century because God did not intend for man to travel at such speeds, those who opposed the airplane in the early 20th Century because humans were not intended to fly, and opposed the construction of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System after World War II because it paved thousands of miles of forest, farms, and cities,” Hopkins wrote.

Hopkins wrote that the lawsuit is an attempt to bring the court into a policy debate. He argues the proper place for the debate is in local or state government.

“This court should not allow itself to be called into service as a zoning board,” Hopkins wrote.

An attempt to reach Hopkins for comment Friday was unsuccessful.

The landowners dismissed by the court’s recent action were Fred and Carol Kitchens, Kitchens Land Partnership, James R. Johnson, Carolyn Casey. Other landowners were dismissed from the complaint previously.