The City of Hutto has prevailed in its legal dispute with Legacy Hutto, LLC, as the Texas Seventh District Court of Appeals decided this week to affirm a Williamson County judge’s previous decision to dismiss Legacy’s multi-million lawsuit against the City.
Legacy developers had alleged in June 2020 that the City breached its contract on a project that would’ve been anchored by Perfect Game. However, City of Hutto litigator George E. Hyde made a successful case both at trial and with the appellate court that Legacy’s failure to comply with a state government transparency law invalidated the contract on the now defunct project—releasing the City of any legal obligation to pay Legacy the $4 million the developer had sought.
The suit was part of the City’s renewed commitment to financial responsibility and proper business dealings. The Legacy case is actually one of a few similar suits the City is pursuing to hold its contractors accountable and ensure they comply with all state laws, especially those which require transparency.
In 2019, City staff entered a contract with Legacy after legal approval by its then city attorney. However this was done without Hutto City Council approval of the contract, and without verifying whether Legacy met its legal requirement to complete and file the 1295 Ethics Disclosure Form with the Texas Ethics Commission.
The City Council changed law firms in 2020. The new city attorney soon identified legal flaws in the Legacy contract and brought them to City Council’s attention. After initial attempts to settle failed, Legacy filed suit in Williamson County District Court.
The Legacy case was the first in Texas to rest largely on the 1295 ethics disclosure requirement. With Hutto’s success this week (July 18) in the suit, the City appears more likely to prevail in similar pending cases.
Legacy now has 45 days to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.