Pennichuck maintains right to sue Nashua for improper taking
In a decision issued on Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Superior Court ruled that Pennichuck may be entitled to financial damages if, as Pennichuck has argued, the city is using the eminent domain process against the company for improper purposes or fails to complete its threatened taking after a price is set by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC)...
NASHUA, NH, Dec. 3, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In a decision issued on Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Superior Court ruled that Pennichuck may be entitled to financial damages if, as Pennichuck has argued, the city is using the eminent domain process against the company for improper purposes or fails to complete its threatened taking after a price is set by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
The court ruled that if "the City forces the company through a lengthy and expensive proceeding before the PUC only to abandon acquisition efforts at or near the end of that process, Pennichuck may sustain future damages that dwarf (the $6 million) which it claims have incurred to date." The court determined that it was too soon to determine whether this would occur, and therefore ruled that Pennichuck's case was not yet ripe for consideration by the court.
"If this occurs, Pennichuck's damages would be significantly higher than the ones we've asserted to date," said Donald L. Correll, Pennichuck president and chief executive officer.
As stated in the Court's decision that the matter best belongs before the PUC at this time:
Insofar as Pennichuck claims that the "before taking" value of its property was improperly diminished by the bad faith conduct of the city prior to the initiation of the condemnation proceedings, there appears to be no reason why Pennichuck could not present such evidence in the PUC proceedings for such bearing as it may have on the issue of what constitutes just compensation for any taking that the PUC allows.
"The court's decision to dismiss without prejudice allows us to vigorously pursue the merits of our claims before the PUC. This process is only in its initial phase before the PUC as a result of the city's failure to file any testimony for eight months after initially filing its petition and until ordered to do so by the PUC," said Correll. "We will continue to protect the interests of our customers, employees and shareholders as we move forward and pursue whatever actions necessary to do so."
About Pennichuck Corp.
Pennichuck Corp. (www.pennichuck.com) is a holding company located in Nashua, New Hampshire with three wholly owned operating subsidiaries involved in regulated water supply and distribution in Nashua and towns throughout southern and central New Hampshire; non-regulated, water-related services conducted through Pennichuck Water Service Company; and real estate management and development activities conducted through The Southwood Corporation.