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Master Plumber/Mechanical
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Contractor files lawsuit against Dodge City

Dodge City Daily Globe
Posted Feb 19, 2009 @ 12:08 PM
A Dodge City contractor's long-running dispute with the city's inspections department has prompted a federal lawsuit against the city and several local contractors.
William Felts filed the lawsuit in November in U.S. District Court in Wichita, and the city was notified of the case last week.
The lawsuit says the city's pattern of enforcing its building code requirements has consistently favored private businesses at Felts' expense.
A master mechanical contractor, Felts told the Globe that he clashed with the inspections department in 2006 after another contractor complained that he was working on an ice machine without the appropriate license. He said that he later obtained the license.
But his lawsuit contends that the "major players" in the field — that is, private contractors — generally do not have the required licenses but are allowed to carry on their trade anyway.
"Defendant the city of Dodge City, Kansas' selective enforcement of the city licensure ordinance has come at the expense of plaintiff and has unduly and improperly benefited the business entity defendants, whom have come to rely upon the city's selective enforcement of its licensure ordinance in conducting their business activity," the lawsuit says.
The case centers on the city's building code, which requires contractors to obtain licenses before performing electrical, heating, plumbing and other mechanical work.
The lawsuit accuses the city of applying that requirement unfairly to benefit major contractors, thus violating Felts' rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The other defendants in the case are Aquila, Ray Omo, Weber Refrigeration and Heating, Glassman Climate Control, Johnson Controls, The Trane Co., Hussman Corp. and Lake Mechanical. Felts said that none of them had been served with papers as of Wednesday afternoon.
Felts is seeking unspecified economic damages for lost business opportunities stemming from the city's alleged pattern of unequal enforcement. In addition, he is asking the court to monitor the city for a year after the case is resolved to ensure the city is enforcing its licensing requirements fairly.
Felts told the Globe that he had spoken to the commissioners and other city officials several times in an attempt to resolve the dispute without resorting to a lawsuit, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
He said as a last resort, he filed the lawsuit because he wants the city to enforce its licensing requirements equally on all contractors.
"If they chose to be more lax, I don't care," he said. "If they chose to be more strict, I don't care. The fact is, it needs to be consistently enforced."
Allen Heating and Air Conditioning owner Rod Allen said that Felts and his attorney, Peter Antosh, had approached him about joining the lawsuit as a second plaintiff. But he said his position in the case has not been determined yet.
Antosh did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
The city's public information director, Christa Roy, said that city officials could not comment on the lawsuit because it is still pending. Felts' claim that he had tried to resolve the dispute by talking to city officials first could not be immediately confirmed through Roy.

Master Plumber/Mechanical
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Sometimes it sure would be nice but what about the label you would have within your community.
I can see this mans point of view, but?
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