IP seeking $3.9M from county in damages

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

by Stephen Faleski

On Monday in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court, Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. issued an agreed order accepting an amended prayer for relief from International Paper pertaining to a lawsuit the company filed earlier this year against Isle of Wight County concerning real estate taxes.

The suit, which had previously been two separate legal filings — one in August 2017 concerning fiscal years 2011-2012 through 2016-2017 and the other in February 2018 concerning fiscal year 2017-2018 — alleges that for the past seven fiscal years, the county has assessed the tax value of the Franklin mill three to four times higher than its fair market value.

The amended prayer for relief seeks a total of $3,904,602.73 in damages for all seven fiscal years, plus accrued interest and any other relief as justice may require.

According to the agreed order, the county does not oppose the proposed amendment to the prayer for relief but denies that IP is entitled to any relief on the application or 2018 application, including any of the relief in the amended prayer for relief. The county also maintains the answers, defenses and denials made in its responsive pleadings to both applications and preserves its prior objections to the court’s Oct. 19, 2017, adverse rulings.

The matter will go to trial on Sept. 17, at 9:30 a.m. IP is being represented by Craig D. Bell of the Richmond-based law firm McGuire Woods LLP and James S. McNider III of The Hampton-based firm James S. McNider PLC. Isle of Wight County is being represented by Andrew R. McRoberts of the Richmond-based firm Sands Anderson PC and County Attorney Mark C. Popovich.