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Hodges set to oppose Avery lawsuit

When Mike Franklin left as director of Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park following conflict with mayor and town council, the town immediately lost access to the canyon, since permission to use it was contingent upon Franklin’s association with the park, according to the contract with canyon owners Deborah and Danny Avery.

Since that time, more than a few people have spoken up urging the Averys and the Town of Hodges to come together and find some sort of agreement that would allow continued access to the canyon.

That might be unlikely, considering the active lawsuit Deborah Avery is pursuing against the town.

According to a complaint filed in Franklin County Sept. 14, Avery has accused the town of breaching an agreement between them for certain compensation for use of the canyon trails. The complaint states that “because of the breach of said agreement by the Defendant, the Plaintiff has suffered various injuries and damages, including but not limited to loss of financial compensation.” The complaint claims fraud, deceit and breach of contract and calls for punitive damages and a judgement in the amount of excess of $100K.

Avery is represented by Mark Dutton of Moulton. He could not be reached for comment.

The Town of Hodges directed all inquiries to attorney Jeff Bowling. In answering documentation to the complaint, the Town lists multiple grounds on which Avery’s claims are barred, including statute of limitations, doctrines of waiver as estoppel, unjust enrichment and on the basis of fraud, among others.

“We are going to vigorously defend this case, and we think it is going to be dismissed,” Bowling said.

Court date was set, according to court documents, for May 9, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in the Franklin County Courthouse.