Judge OKs amended suit vs JWC

JENKINSVILLE – Broad River Campground can amend the lawsuit it filed against the Jenkinsville Water Company to include new allegations and statements from witnesses, a judge has ruled.

Sixth Circuit Judge Grace Gilchrest Knie also ruled in a separate order that campground lawsuits against the JWC, as well as board chairman Gregrey Ginyard and vice-chairman Joseph McBride, can be combined.

Both lawsuits allege violations of the S.C. Unfair Trade Practices Act, or SCUTPA, according to Fairfield County court records. Orders combining and amending the suits were signed in late June.

“The factual allegations in the SCUTPA cause of action against JWC are identical to the factual allegations against Ginyard and McBride,” the order combining the lawsuits states.

“I find that the factual allegations the Plaintiff has asserted against JWC, Ginyard and McBride arise out of the same transaction, occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences and that there are questions of law and fact common to all defendants that will arise in the action,” the order continues.

At issue are claims that the JWC reneged on agreements to provide additional water service to the campground, which in recent years has seen an influx of workers at the V.C. Summer nuclear site.

The campground’s suit claims the JWC wrongfully denied water service in 2014 despite a superfluous amount of water.

Broad River Campground states in its suit that JWC is contractually obligated to provide additional water, citing a letter from the JWC as proof that a contract existed between the parties.

According to the letter, the JWC stated it could commit to 8,050 gallons per day. The campground has said that even with the extra water, it falls below the 8,050-gallon threshold.

“The water company will consider increasing our commitment, but only if that can be done without negatively impacting other customers of the water system,” the letter states.

In legal documents, Ginyard individually and the JWC as a whole deny allegations in the suit. The JWC has also claimed in its filings that the letter doesn’t constitute a contract.

“JWC denied and continues to deny that Exhibit 1 [the letter] is a valid and legally enforceable contract,” an affidavit previously filed by Ginyard states. “However, to the extent that Exhibit 1 is a valid and legally enforceable contract, JWC never breached it.”

JWC’s answer to the litigation also states it lacks sufficient water capacity to meet the campground’s request.

“Defendant pleads impossibility, impracticability, unconscionability, and an Act of God as Defendant does not have available water capacity to satisfy Plaintiff’s demand,” the answer states.

The campground’s amended complaint inserted the word “willful” in numerous causes of action. It also included an affidavit from former JWC board member Lori Smith, who restates assertions made in the campground’s suit.

Smith further stated in her affidavit that Ginyard pressured other board members to influence their votes.

“If Mr. Ginyard wanted a vote to go a particular way he would call Board members and try to get them to vote his way,” the document states. “He intimidated members of the Board who were supporting the campground.”

A Dec. 3 trial date is tentatively planned.