EASLEY—Failure to file a formal complaint has the Chihuahua case on hold for now.
A hearing to determine rightful possession of a four-pound dog between Easley City Councilman Dave Watson and Keith and Kerri Blanton has been continued to allow for proper filing, according to Watson’s Attorney.
The hearing was slated to take place at the Liberty Magistrate Court on Thursday, Nov. 15, but was postponed.
A new hearing date has not yet been set.
“There was a motion to dismiss that was pending. The Blanton’s attorney and the Blantons basically consented to my motion so that they could file a formal complaint,” Watson’s Attorney, Ryan Beasley said. “They hadn’t filed a complaint before. They just filed an affidavit so there was really nothing to respond to.”
The Blanton’s attorney says the formality of a complaint filing is out of the ordinary in his experience, but never the less procedurally the thing to do. “You’ve never had to file a complaint when you’ve filed the affidavit with summons and notice,” said James O’Connell, the Blanton’s attorney.
“He was being really strict with it. You never know what a Magistrate is going to do. I know the Blantons didn’t like it, but he (Beasley) is right. Cases in court are supposed to start with a complaint, summons and notice. He’s arguing that the affidavit that was filed with the summons and notice was technically not a complaint.”
“We filed the complaint (Thursday) and he got served yesterday,” said O’Connell Friday. “Now we’ll see where it goes from here.”
Beasley said he allowed the Blantons to file a formal complaint.
“I went ahead and allowed them to file the complaint, which they have now filed, and I have 30 days to answer the complaint,” Beasley said. “That’s why there’s no hearing or anything right now.”
Beasley said his decision will avoid a lot of unnecessary drawbacks in the case.
“If we would have had a hearing, it probably would have been dismissed, but it would have been just a technicality where they could have filed again,” Beasley said. “Without going through all those hoops, I agreed to allow them to file a complaint.”
With a complaint now filed, Beasley and the Watsons will look over it to make any sort of counter claims.
“We’ll look at the complaint and make any counter-claims or defenses or anything like that,” Beasley said. “After that, the judge will set another hearing, but it probably won’t be for another 30 days or so.”