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Montana Water Company Employees File Motion to be Involved in Condemnation Lawsuit

mountain water
Photo courtesy of NBC Montana/ KECI

Today, May 28, 38 employees of Mountain Water Company filed a motion to force the City of Missoula to include them in the condemnation lawsuit proceedings against their company. Lawyer Gary Zadick of Great Falls is representing the employees, he says he has sent multiple letters to the city attorney but has received no responses.

“They’re concerned about their future, their jobs, security, their wages and benefits. They were not named in the lawsuit filed by the city even though in a prior condemnation action filed by the city of Missoula [in the 1980s] the Supreme Court ordered that the employees have a seat at the table. So I filed a motion to intervene in that suit so that the employees have a voice.”

Zadick says a Supreme Court decision from the failed condemnation attempt in the 1980s gives the employees a strong case for being included in the proceedings. Mayor Engen has said many times that the city would hire the employees if it wins the lawsuit, but Zadick argues that the current paperwork is unclear.

“There have been some prior comments by the city that those who were not retained, would be let-go humanely, others would be offered at-will employment. With those kinds of comments, and of course the city’s formal offer stating that the employees would only be on at-will status, causes concern for my clients. That is part of why we moved to intervene.”

Zadick says that at-will employee designation is prohibited under Montana law. The employees also filed a motion that agrees with and adopts Mountain Water Company’s filing on May 27th of a Motion for More Definite Statement and a Motion to Strike.

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