The town of Apex has paid $15.3 million to settle a class action lawsuit with builders in the town who said they were wrongly charged impact fees, the builders’ attorneys report.
Daniel Bryson and Hunter Bryson of Whitfield Bryson & Mason in Raleigh represented roughly 300 builders from whom the town had unlawfully collected water and sewer impact fees for future services and as a precondition to providing those services.
The town of Apex claimed that the fees were properly and lawfully collected, saying that they were for contemporaneous, not future, services, Daniel Bryson said.
“That becomes the battle, so we dig into audited financial statements and council meeting minutes to trace how they actually have spent the money,” Bryson said.
In 2016’s Quality Built Homes Inc. v. Town of Carthage, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that towns had no authority to charge developers upfront fees for water and sewer services. It later ruled that the statute of limitations for lawsuits to recover those fees is three years. Whitfield Bryson & Mason is currently litigating lawsuits across the state regarding the issue.
Former North Carolina Court of Appeals judge Douglas McCullough mediated the settlement, which was agreed to on May 28.
Susan Burkhart of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog in Raleigh represented the Town of Apex. She could not be reached for comment.
Follow Bill Cresenzo on Twitter @bcresenzonclw
SETTLEMENT REPORT — CLASS ACTION
Injuries alleged: Unlawful assessment of impact fees
Case name: Upright Builders, Inc. and Legacy Custom Homes, Inc. v. Town of Apex
Court: Wake County Superior Court
Case No.: 18-CVS-3720
Mediator: Douglas McCullough
Date settlement: May 28
Attorneys for plaintiff: Daniel K. Bryson and J. Hunter Bryson of Whitfield Bryson & Mason in Raleigh
Attorney for defendant: Susan Burkhart of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog in Raleigh