The city of Eagle is asking a judge to dismiss a motion that would stop it from buying the Eagle Water Company.
In a Nov. 1 filing, the city requested 4th District Judge Steven Hippler dismiss Suez Water’s request for the court to reject Eagle’s claim to a “right of first refusal” in purchasing the Eagle Water Company.
Eagle also claims Suez is not an “indispensable party” in the case, which means the company would not be necessary for the case to be completed. Eagle also argues Suez “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” which means the city believes the corporation has not made any claims that could be paid out in any way, shape or form.
This most recent filing is a response to a motion made earlier this year by Suez Water that was put on hold while the court decided whether or not the lawsuit against the Eagle Water Company would move forward.
At the core of the suit filed by the city in February is the purchase of the Eagle Water Company by Suez Water, a multinational firm based in France. Suez filed to purchase the company in November 2018. The city’s attorneys say that sale violated a 2008 agreement between the city and Eagle Water Company in which the company agreed to give the city the “right of first refusal,” or the first opportunity for the purchase if the company was being sold. The city’s attorneys say Eagle Water Company officials did not do that.
In February, a local Suez spokeswoman told the Idaho Press the sale would increase the average Eagle Water customer's bill from about $12 every month to around $25 per month. This price increase would only affect Eagle Water customers and would take place over the course of three years in order to pay for improvements to Eagle Water's water system. The city has had opportunities to purchase the company in the past but has refused, according to motions written by the company’s lawyers. The sale to Suez was based, in part, on the city’s inaction.
In March, the Eagle Water Company filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the agreement between the city and the company was too vague to be legally binding. The agreement required the company to offer the city the right of first refusal of the purchase of the “water system, which shall be deemed to include, but not be limited to, water rights, wells, and other infrastructure,” according to the company’s March 25 motion to dismiss the case.