Court cuts millions from water company's claim


MISSOULA, Mont. - A judge issued a favorable ruling Monday for the city of Missoula in their case against Mountain Water Company and the system's owner, the Carlyle Group.

In a 45-page order District Judge Karen Townsend rejected a number of expenses the defendants wanted to be reimbursed.

According to lawyers representing the city Townsend reduced the hourly rate charged by the company's legal firms across the board. The court's adjustment brings legal fees in line with the customary local fees charged by Missoula attorneys. Townsend also rejected some charges entirely, saying the legal billing was poorly documented and over-billed with duplicated work and vague time entries.

A number of claims filed by Mountain Water and Carlyle were also rejected. The court said the expenses were excessive, unnecessary and unreasonable.

The defendants in the city's condemnation case against the water company were asking the Missoula to pay $7.9 million in court costs and expenses. City attorneys estimate Townsend's court order will cut that number to $4 million.

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