Holliday drops Forest Hill Road legal team

mstucka@macon.comOctober 13, 2013 

Road activist Lindsay “Doc” Holliday plans to represent himself in a weeklong court hearing about the future of Forest Hill Road.

Bibb County Superior Court Judge Edgar Ennis agreed Friday to remove Holliday’s legal team at Holliday’s request. Holliday is suing the Georgia Department of Transportation about its proposed widening of Forest Hill Road, and Ennis has already granted Holliday injunctions to halt the work until the court case can proceed. Five days of hearings are scheduled to begin Oct. 21.

Holliday said in a statement that he is thankful to his attorneys at McGuireWoods for preparing the groundwork for the case.

“I am very thankful to them, but unfortunately, I do not have the unlimited taxpayer funded resources of GDOT and the State Government,” Holliday wrote in an emailed statement. “I feel confident about the evidence we gathered and the convincing testimony we have from depositions.”

Holliday said he could seek an attorney to help with technical issues during the process. “Everyone will benefit if GDOT learns from this case how important it is to work with the citizens to design better and safer roads through our neighborhoods.”

Holliday had been using three attorneys from McGuireWoods. The state’s listed attorneys include four from the state Attorney General’s Office, including Attorney General Sam Olens. The state also is getting help with two attorneys from Macon’s Sell & Melton law firm.

The case was filed in December, after the state took bids and awarded $8.4 million worth of work to a contractor. The state’s plans call for a three-lane section of Forest Hill Road between Wimbish Road and Northside Drive, and other plans call for a four-lane section from Wimbish Road to Vineville Avenue.

Holliday says the state arbitrarily and capriciously rejected safer designs for the road that would cause less harm to the environment.

In the first court hearing in March, Ennis urged Holliday to get legal representatives. Holliday said then that “I’ve talked with at least 10 lawyers who said it was either hopeless or expensive.”

At the second hearing in March, Holliday arrived with one attorney, whom he had just hired. Ennis announced the first injunction, for 30 days, to allow the attorneys time to build their cases. The second injunction was granted in May, when Ennis said he had to balance irreparable harm against Forest Hill Road’s tree canopy with the state’s claims that taxpayer money was being siphoned off.

The DOT has said the costs of delay could exceed the $8.4 million project price tag and has sought to make Holliday pay for any damages.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service